Sensex, Nifty Updates: Eicher Motors, Sun Pharma, Bajaj Auto, were among the top gainers.
The Indian equity benchmarks settled lower on Wednesday, December 29 amid volatile trading ahead of the expiration of monthly derivates. The Sensex ended 90 points lower to 57,806 and the Nifty 50 settled at 17,213.60 - just above the 17,200 mark, down by 19 points.
Shares of pharma majors such as Cipla, Sun Pharma, Dr Reddy's Laboratories extended gains that kept markets afloat for most part of today's session. However, metal stocks were the top drags today - the nifty metal index falling 1.1 per cent - that offset the rally by pharmaceutical firms.
The Nifty pharma index was the top gainer, rising 1.7 per cent a day after India approved Merck's COVID-19 pill and two more vaccines for emergency use.
Eicher Motors, Sun Pharma, Bajaj Auto, Divis Labs were among the top gainers. On the flipside, ITC, State Bank of India (SBI), Coal India, Tech Mahindra were among the top losers.
Mid- and small-cap shares ended on a positive note as Nifty Midcap 100 index was up 0.08 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index rose 0.59 per cent.
''The Nifty has maintained a higher bottom formation but after a strong pullback rally, the index has now formed a Hammer candlestick formation near the important resistance level which indicates strong possibility of a short-term weakness.
For the trend following traders, 17200 would be the important level to watch out for, and above the same the uptrend momentum could continue up to 17300-171350 levels,'' said Shrikant Chouhan, Head of Equity Research (Retail), Kotak Securities.
In the currency market, the rupee snapped its winning streak today and declined three paise to settle at 74.73 (provisional) against the US dollar, amid muted domestic equities and weaker global cues.
In global markets, broader Asian shares also ticked lower, following a mixed Wall Street session, as the region's investors positioned their portfolios for the new year.
On the stock-specific front, Baja Auto gained more than two per cent today after the company announced that it will set up a Rs 300-crore electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing unit in Pune. Shares of Bajaj Auto traded 2.94 per cent higher to an intra day high of Rs 3,270 on the BSE.
Pharmaceutical shares such as Cipla, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Torrent Pharmaceuticals, Sun Pharma gained around two per cent each on Wednesday, after the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved the emergency use of anti-viral drug - Molnupiravir, to fight against the pandemic.
And multiplex shares such as PVR and INOX Leisure declined around three per cent each today after the Delhi government announced restrictions as part of its 'Level 1' or 'Yellow Alert' amid rising Omicron cases in the national capital. As part of the new guidelines, all cinema halls or multiplexes will be closed in Delhi to contain the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus variant.