The domestic equity benchmarks extended declines led by losses in HDFC, HDFC Bank, Tata Consultancy Services, ITC and ICICI Bank. The S&P BSE Sensex fell over 300 points to intraday low of 38,624.52 and the Nifty 50 Index dropped below psychologically important level of 11,600. On the sectoral front, selling pressure in banking, finance, information technology and telecom shares were seen exerting pressure on the benchmarks.
As of 2:21 pm, the Sensex traded 0.75 per cent or 290 points lower at 38,649 and the NSE Nifty 50 Index fell 0.64 per cent or 75 points to 11,597.
Analysts say investors are booking profits after a recent rally which took benchmarks to record highs ahead of the start of the earnings season which begins with Infosys and TCS March quarter results on Friday.
Thirteen of 19 sector gauges compiled by BSE were trading lower led by the S&P BSE Finance Index's 1.05 per cent decline. Banking, Utilities, Metal, Information Technology and Basic Materials Indexes also fell between 0.6 and 0.9 per cent each.
Mid- and small-cap shares were outperforming their larger peers as the S&P BSE MidCap Index fell 0.2 per cent while the S&P BSE SmallCap Index was trading flat.
Hindalco was top loser in the Nifty 50 basket of shares, the stock fell 2.86 per cent to Rs 210.95. HDFC Bank, Vedanta, HDFC, TCS, UPL, Asian Paints, GAIL India and HCL Technologies were also among the losers.
On the other hand, Tata Motors was top gainer, the stock rose 5 per cent to Rs 216. Cipla, Wipro Indian Oil, Coal India, Hindustan Unilever, Sun Pharma and Adani Ports were also among the gainers.
The overall market breadth was negative as 1,322 shares were declining while 1,104 were advancing on the BSE.
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