Equity benchmarks S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty 50 snapped their five-day winning streak on Wednesday as rising COVID-19 cases dented investors' sentiment. The Sensex fell as much as 329 points and Nifty 50 touched an intraday low of 11,057. Infosys, Hindustan Unilever, HDFC Bank, Tata Consultancy Services, Larsen & Toubro and Kotak Mahindra Bank were among the top drags on the Sensex.
The Sensex ended 59 points or 0.16 per cent lower at 37,872 and Nifty 50 index declined 30 points or 0.27 per cent to close at 11,133.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the country is inching closer to the 12 lakh mark after 37,724 new patients were recorded in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said this morning. Around 7.5 lakh patients have recovered so far; 28,732 have died. 648 deaths linked to the illness were recorded in the last 24 hours.
Maharashtra is the worst hit state in the country and has a mortality rate of 3.8 per cent, way higher than the national average of 2.5 per cent.
Meanwhile, seven of 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended lower, led by the Nifty PSU Bank index's over 1.5 per cent fall. Auto, information technology, realty and FMCG indexes also ended lower 0.8-1 per cent each.
Mid- and small-cap shares ended on a flat note; Nifty Midcap 100 index rose 0.1 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index ended little changed.
Hero MotoCorp was top Nifty loser; the stock fell 3.3 per cent to close at Rs 2,774. Hindustan Unilever, Bharat Petroleum, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Shree Cements, Britannia Industries, Infosys, IndusInd Bank and Maruti Suzuki also ended on a weak note.
On the other hand, Axis Bank surged over 7 per cent after its asset quality improved in quarter ended June 30.
Titan, Power Grid, Zee Entertainment, NTPC, ITC, Reliance Industries, Vedanta and UPL were also among the gainers.
Overall market breadth was negative as 1,499 shares closed lower on the BSE whereas 1,145 ended higher.