New Delhi: Equity indices plunged into the red on Wednesday led by losses in banking and pharma shares. The benchmark BSE Sensex cracked 357 points or 0.60 per cent to 59,672 in late noon deals; while the broader NSE Nifty moved 91 points or 0.51 per cent lower to 17,798.
The 30-share BSE index dived nearly 700 points from its intraday high of 60,361.82. Both the BSE and NSE indices started on a positive note but gave up all of their respective gains as the day progressed.
Major laggards in the BSE pack included Sun Pharma, ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, Titan, Hindustan Unilever and PowerGrid with their stocks down as much as 3.05 per cent. On the other hand, Larsen and Toubro (L&T), UltraTech Cements, Tech Mahindra, Tata Steel, Bajaj Finance and HCL Tech jumped as much as 4.37 per cent in late noon deals.
On the NSE platform, except for Nifty Metal and Realty, all other sub-indices tanked with Nifty Private Bank and Pharma down as much as 1.43 per cent.
Shares of State Bank of India (SBI) gained 1.72 per cent to Rs 531. The country's largest lender reported a record quarterly profit, helped by lower provisions for bad loans. SBI's net profit rose 66.7 per cent to Rs 7,627 crore ($1.02 billion) for the three months ended September 30, from Rs 4,574 crore a year earlier.
However, global shares hovered at record highs while currency markets and U.S. Treasuries were steady, as investors looked to the expected winding down of pandemic-era monetary stimulus in the world's largest economy.
The Federal Reserve is expected to announce the tapering of its $120 billion-a-month asset purchase programme in its policy statement at 11:30 PM.
In contrast, Asian shares failed to follow a strong lead from Wall Street. Markets are almost certain the Fed will taper but are looking to see if policymakers will give any hints about the possibility of interest rate hikes next year.
"While confidence remains that the Fed will begin its taper, there is scepticism around just how hawkish they will be on the rate hike front," analysts at Westpac told news agency Reuters.