- At 2:46 pm, the Sensex traded 337 points lower at 35,688 and the Nifty was down 111 points at 10,668.
- Top laggards on the 50-scrip index were Adani Ports, Indiabulls Housing Finance, Bajaj Finance, Yes Bank, Bajaj Finserv and ICICI Bank, trading between 4.2 per cent and 9.8 per cent lower.
- "The issue with Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Service Ltd (IL&FS) is not over, contrary to earlier beliefs and that is why we see housing finance companies in the red today," said AK Prabhakar, head of research, IDBI Capital - Mumbai.
- A string of defaults at the major infrastructure financing and building company had triggered sharp falls in the stock and debt markets last year amid fears of contagion within the rest of the country's financial sector.
- Caution prevailed among investors ahead of the Budget due later this week, say analysts.
- "There is a wait-and-watch sentiment because of the budget," news agency Reuters quoted Vinod Nair, head of research, Geojit Financial Services, as saying.
- "Earnings this quarter hasn't been great so far, and I don't think we will witness earnings growth of even 7-8 per cent this year."
- However, gains in Zee Entertainment capped further declines in NSE index, as the media company's stock jumped nearly 20 per cent after it denied any involvement in demonetisation-linked transactions. Zee Entertainment shares had last week registered sharp losses in a crisis that wiped $1.6 billion off the media group's market value.
- Equities in other Asian markets edged higher after US President Donald Trump agreed on Friday to end a 35-day old partial shutdown of the government shutdown.
- Engineering firm Larsen & Toubro Ltd gained over 4 per cent after reporting a 37-per cent surge in December-quarter net profit after market hours on Friday.
(With agency inputs)
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