Domestic stock markets fluctuated between gains and losses on Thursday, following a rally that continued for six days in a row. The S&P BSE Sensex index fell 474.35 points from an intraday high of 34,310.14 registered in early deals, to hit 33,835.79 on the downside in late morning trade. The broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark slumped to as low as 10,004.70, having touched 10,123.85 at the strongest level recorded earlier. Losses in financial stocks outweighed gains in IT and metals shares.
At 11:36 am, the Sensex traded 157.07 points - or 0.46 per cent - lower at 33,952.47 while the Nifty was down 31.30 points (0.31 per cent) at 10,030.25.
In the Nifty basket of 50 stocks, 29 shares moved lower at the time. Top percentage losers were Titan, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Bajaj Finance, HDFC and Asian Paints, trading between 2.56 per cent and 3.12 per cent lower.
On the other hand, Vedanta, Tech Mahindra, Sun Pharma, BPCL and Reliance Industries - up between 2.10 per cent and 4.65 per cent - were the top Nifty gainers.
HDFC, Kotak Mahindra Bank and HDFC Bank were the top drags on the Sensex.
"Having seen such a breathtaking move in the past few sessions, the market is essentially pausing to catch its breath," said Ajay Bodke, CEO and chief portfolio manager (portfolio management services) at Prabhudas Lilladher. "The market always looks 6-12 months down the line. If the revival in aggregate demand is not as strong as the market believes it to be, it is vulnerable to a sharp correction."
Equities elsewhere in Asia traded on a mixed note, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan last seen trading up 0.16 per cent.
While Japan's Nikkei 225, China's Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong's Hang Seng indices were down 0.18 per cent, 0.21 per cent and 0.17 per cent at the time, South Korea's KOSPI benchmark eked out a gain of 0.18 per cent.
The E-Mini S&P 500 futures were down 0.25 per cent in early Asian trade, indicating a weak start for US markets on Thursday.
Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite barometers rose 1.36 per cent, 2.05 per cent and 0.78 per cent respectively.
On Wednesday, the Sensex had ended 284.01 points - or 0.84 per cent - higher at 34,109.54, and the Nifty settled at 10,061.55, up 82.45 points - or 0.83 per cent - from its previous close - their highest closing levels recorded since March 11.