The Indian equity benchmarks reversed direction in afternoon trading as profit booking creeped in at higher levels a day after the Sensex and Nifty staged their biggest single day gain since 2009, analysts said. The S&P BSE Sensex slumped over 1,300 points from the day's highest level to hit an intraday low of 29,900 and the NSE Nifty 50 index dropped from an intraday high of 9,131.70 to trade below 8,800 level. Tata Consultancy Services, Reliance Industries, Infosys and ITC were among the biggest drags on the Sensex.
As of 1:56 pm, the Sensex was down 136 points or 0.46 per cent at 29,928 and the Nifty was at 8,725, down 67 points or 0.76 per cent.
Rising cases of deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to dampen the investor sentiment, analysts added.
India has recorded 149 deaths linked to coronavirus, with 35 dying in the last 24 hours alone. The latest data from the Union Health Ministry takes the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country past the 5,000-mark, to 5,194 cases.
Meanwhile, 14 0f nineteen sector gauges compiled by the BSE were trading higher led by the S&P BSE Healthcare index's 4.5 percent gain. S&P BSE Utilities, Telecom, Oil & Gas, Power and Industrials sector gauges also rose between 1.5--2 per cent each.
On the other hand, S&P BSE Information Technology index as top loser, down 1 per cent.
Mid- and small-cap shares were witnessing buying interest as the S&P BSE MidCap and S&P BSE SmallCap indexes rose over 2 per cent each.
Sun Pharma was top Nifty gainer, the stock rose 6 per cent to Rs 441. Cipla, GAIL India, Bharti Infratel, NTPC, Vedanta, ONGC, HCL Technologies, Tata Motors and Bajaj Finance also rose between 2.6-4.6 per cent each.
On the flipside, TCS, IndusInd Bank, Titan, Bharti Airtel, ITC, Infosys, Grasim Industries and Britannia were among the losers.
The overall market breadth was positive as 1,402 shares were advancing while 702 were declining on the BSE.