Indian equity benchmarks recovered most of their losses after staging a gap down opening on Monday as concerns over new Covid-19 variant continue to spook investors. The Sensex recovered nearly 700 points from the day's lowest level and Nifty 50 index reclaimed its important psychological level of 17,000 after hitting an intraday low of 16,782. Recovery in the market was led by buying interest in Reliance Industries, Tata Consultancy Services, HCL Technologies, Infosys and Bharti Airtel. While, HDFC, HDFC Bank, Hindustan Unilever and Asian Paints were among the top drags.
As of 9:50 am, the Sensex was up 70 points at 57,165 and Nifty 50 index declined 3 points to 17,023.
The Omicron coronavirus variant spread around the world on Sunday, with new cases found in the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia even as more countries imposed travel restriction to try to seal themselves off.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was not yet clear whether Omicron, first detected in Southern Africa, is more transmissible than other variants, or if it causes more severe disease.
Back home, foreign institutional investors continue to sell shares in Indian markets as they sold shares worth Rs 5,785 crore on Friday while domestic institutional investors bought shares worth Rs 2,294 crore.
Twelve of 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower led by the Nifty Realty index's nearly 2 per cent decline. Nifty Consumer Durables, PSU Bank, Media, FMCG, Financial Services and Auto indices also fell between 0.8-1.6 per cent.
On the other hand, Pharma and Healthcare shares were witnessing buying interest.
Mid- and small-cap shares were underperforming their larger peers as Nifty Midcap 100 index fell 1.2 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index dropped 2.4 per cent.
Paytm shares declined as much as 4.55 per cent to hit an intraday low of Rs 1,700 after its net loss widened to Rs 473 crore in September quarter from loss of Rs 437 crore in the year ago period.
UPL was top Nifty loser, the stock fell 2 per cent to Rs 689. Adani Ports, hero MotoCorp, Coal India, HDFC, ONGC, Bajaj Auto, Shree Cements, Asian Paints, Indian Oil, HDFC Life and Bharat Petroleum also fell 1-2 per cent.
On the flipside, Reliance Industries, Dr Reddy's Labs, IndusInd Bank, HCL Technologies, Bharti Airtel, Tata Steel, Cipla, Bajaj Finance and Tata Motors were among the gainers.
The overall market breadth was extremely negative as 2,191 shares were declining while 678 were advancing on the BSE.