The Indian equity benchmarks fell on Tuesday dragged by losses in banking and financial services shares amid weak cues from global markets. The Sensex fell as much as 245 points and Nifty 50 index slipped below its important psychological level of 15,700. Asian stocks were down early on Tuesday as growing fears the spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus would harm the global economic recovery sent riskier assets, including oil, skidding sharply.
As of 9:22 am, the Sensex was down 228 points at 52,325 and Nifty 50 index fell 61 points to 15,691.
Overnight, stocks on Wall Street fell as much as 2 per cent on Monday, with the Dow posting its worst day in nine months, as a rise in worldwide coronavirus cases and increasing US deaths drove investors out of risky assets, crushing bond yields and share prices.
Back home, selling pressure was broad-based as all the 11 sector gauges, barring the measure of FMCG shares, were trading lower led by the Nifty Bank index's over 1 per cent decline. Nifty Financial Services, Private Bank and Metal indexes fell between 0.9-1 per cent.
Mid- and small-cap shares were also witnessing selling pressure as Nifty Midcap 100 index fell 0.3 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index declined 0.11 per cent.
HCL Technologies was among the top Nifty losers, the stock fell 2 per cent to Rs 982 after it reported lower than expected net profit of Rs 3,213 crore in quarter ended June 2021. HDFC Bank, Cipla, Mahindra & Mahindra, Hindalco, ONGC, IndusInd Bank, Bharti Airtel, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC and Tata Consumer Products also fell between 1-2 per cent.
On the flipside, strong earnings posted by cement giant ACC boosted shares of other cement companies as Shree Cements was top Nifty gainer, up 1.3 per cent at Rs 27,997. Power Grid, UltraTech Cement, Grasim Industries, Divis Labs, ITC, Indian Oil, Asian Paints, Maruti Suzuki, Bajaj Auto and Nestle India were among the gainers.
The overall market breadth was negative as 1,475 shares were declining while 1,145 were advancing on the BSE.