Sensex, Nifty Extend Decline; HDFC, Reliance Industries Top Drags

Eleven of 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower led by the Nifty Financial Services index's 0.8% fall.

Sensex, Nifty Extend Decline; HDFC, Reliance Industries Top Drags

The Indian equity benchmarks extended losses in noon deals on the back of selling pressure in index heavyweights like HDFC, Reliance Industries, Infosys, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Titan and Larsen & Toubro. The Sensex fell as much as 392 points and Nifty 50 index touching an intraday low of 17,405. Investors were seen booking profits after three days of gains wherein the Sensex and Nifty rose over 3.5 per cent, analysts said.

As of 1:21 pm, the Sensex was down 363 points at 58,444 and Nifty 50 index declined 98 points to 17,418.

"Two events in the coming months are likely weighing on equity markets - quarterly earnings and India's budget," Sumit Pokharna, vice president research at Kotak Securities told news agency Reuters.

Shares of billionaire stock investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed Star Health and Allied Insurance Co opened at a 6 per cent discount to the offering price before quickly reversing course to trade 4.4 per cent higher. However, they failed to hold on to those gains.

Eleven of 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower led by the Nifty Financial Services index's 0.8 per cent fall. Nifty Private Bank, PSU Bank, IT, FMCG and Bank indices also fell between 0.4-0.8 per cent.

On the other hand, Media, Realty, Pharma and Healthcare indices were trading higher.

Mid- and small-cap shares were outperforming their larger peers as Nifty Midcap 100 index advanced 0.2 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index rose 0.8 per cent.

Titan was top Nifty loser, the stock fell 2.4 per cent to Rs 2,316. HDFC, Divi's Labs, Axis Bank, Tata Consumer Products, Bajaj Finserv, NTPC, Wipro, Coal India, Kotak Mahindra Bank, HCL Technologies, Infosys and Bharti Airtel also fell between 0.9-1.8 per cent.

Asian Paints, Grasim Industries, Mahindra & Mahindra, Sun Pharma, Bajaj Auto, Bharat Petroleum, TCS, SBI Life and Hero MotoCorp were among the gainers.

The overall market breadth was positive as 1,916 shares were advancing while 1,275 were declining on the BSE.

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