Sensex, Nifty Edge Lower On Profit Booking; ICICI Bank, HDFC Top Drags

Selling pressure was broad-based as nine of 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower.

Sensex, Nifty Edge Lower On Profit Booking; ICICI Bank, HDFC Top Drags

The Indian equity benchmarks edged lower on Thursday morning on account of profit-booking at record highs ahead of weekly expiry of index derivative contracts. Selling pressure in recent outperforming shares like ICICI Bank, Tata Steel, HDFC, IndusInd Bank and State Bank of India outweighed gains in in Reliance Industries, Bharti Airtel, Infosys, HDFC Bank and Larsen & Toubro.

As of 9:38 am, the Nifty was down 34 points at 16,224 and Sensex rose 31 points to 54,400.

Meanwhile, Asian markets held on to recent gains on Thursday, despite hawkish remarks from a senior official at the Federal Reserve, that boosted the dollar while weighing on risk appetite, and uncertainty about Chinese policy.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.22 per cent, and Japan's Nikkei climbed 0.32 per cent.

Overnight, US markets closed mostly lower on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 receding 0.46 per cent from a record high. Dow slid 0.92 per cent, though the tech heavy Nasdaq eked out small gains with investors there attaching greater weight to positive data from the services sector than to negative jobs figures.

Back home, selling pressure was broad-based as nine of 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower led by the Nifty PSU Bank index's 1.5 per cent fall. Nifty Metal, Media, Financial Services, Auto and Bank indices were also trading with a negaive bias.

On the other hand, IT shares were witnessing buying interest and were helping in capping the downside risk for the markets.

Mid- and small-cap were also witnessing selling pressure as Nifty Midcap 100 index fell 0.5 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index declined 0.85 per cent.

Among individual shares, Vodafone Ideatanked 15 per cent to hit the lower circuit of Rs 5 on the BSE after Kumar Mangalam Birla stepped down from the board of the beleaguered company. Kumar Mangalam Birla's request to step down as Non-Executive Director and Non-Executive Chairman of the Vodafone Idea board was accepted by the company's board of directors on Wednesday and telecom veteran Himanshu Kapania was named as non-executive chairman in his place. 

IndusInd Bank was top Nifty loser, the stock fell 2.3 per cent to Rs 996. ONGC, Grasim, Hindalco, Coal India, NTPC, UPL, Indian Oil, Tata Steel, Power Grid, State Bank of India, Ultratech Cement and Bharat Petroleum were also among the losers.

On the flipside, Eicher Motors, Wipro, Bharti Airtel, Tech Mahindra, HCL Technologies, Reliance Industries, TCS, Infosys, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Divi's Labs were among the gainers.

The overall market breadth was extremely negative as 1,971 shares were declining while 75 were advancing on the BSE.