New Delhi: The Indian equity benchmarks on Friday started trading in red led by weakness in banking and IT stocks amid weak global cues. Asian shares took a beating after a fresh salvo of hawkish remarks from Federal Reserve officials solidified expectations that U.S. interest rates could rise as soon as March, leaving markets braced for tighter monetary conditions. Fed Governor Lael Brainard became the latest and most senior U.S. central banker to signal that rates will rise in March to combat inflation.
Back home, as of 9:21 am, the 30-share BSE Sensex pack was down 426 points or 0.70 per cent at 60,809 and the broader NSE Nifty moved 129 points or 0.71 per cent lower to 18,128.
Mid- and small-cap shares were mixed as Nifty Midcap 100 index was down 0.18 per cent and small-cap shares were trading 0.52 per cent higher.
On the stock-specific front, HCL Technologies was the top Nifty loser as the stock tanked 2.51 per cent to Rs 1,300.80. Asian Paints, HDFC, Axis Bank and Wipro were also among the laggards.
On the flipside, Indian Oil, Maruti Suzuki India, Reliance Industries, BPCL and Cipla were among the gainers.
The overall market breadth was positive as 1,534 shares were advancing while 1,146 were declining on BSE.
On the 30-share BSE platform, HCL Tech, Asian Paints, Axis Bank, HDFC, Wipro, Tech Mahindra and Hindustan Unilever attracted the most losses with their shares sliding as much as 2.62 per cent in early trade.
RIL, Maruti, PowerGrid and NTPC were among the gainers.
Meanwhile, HCL Technologies, Ashirwad Capital and Gujarat Hotels are some of the companies which will announce their respective third-quarter numbers today.
The benchmark BSE Sensex had climbed 85 points or 0.14 per cent to close at 61,235 on Thursday, while the broader NSE Nifty had settled 45 points or 0.25 per cent higher at 18,258.