The Indian equity benchmarks fell sharply on Wednesday dragged by index heavyweights like HDFC Bank, HDFC, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Hindustan Unilever. The benchmarks opened lower and extended losses in noon deals owing to weakness in private sector banking, pharma and information technology shares. The Sensex fell as much as 518 points and Nifty 50 index briefly fell below its important psychological level of 15,200.
The Sensex ended 400 points lower 51,703.83 and Nifty 50 index fell 105 points to close at 15,208.90.
"Nifty formed lower top lower bottom formation on Feb 17 after the recent rise, raising concerns about the rally getting tired. However an equal advance decline ratio on a negative day means that some bottom fishing has happened in stocks that have corrected over the last few days. 15112-15170 could be the next support band for Nifty. On rise 15340 could act as a resistance," said Deepak Jasani, head of retail tesearch, HDFC Securities.
Seven of 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended lower led by the Nifty Pharma index's nearly 2 per cent fall.
Nifty Financial Services, IT, Private Bank, FMCG, Bank and Realty indexes also fell between 0.5-1.3 per cent.
On the other hand, PSU bank witnessed strong buying interest for second day in a row on privatisation buzz. The gauge of state-run lenders - Nifty PSU Bank index climbed nearly 6 per cent. Media, auto and metal indexes also closed higher.
Mid- and small-cap shares ended on a mixed note as Nifty Midcap 100 index rose 0.3 per cent while Nifty Smallcap 100 index ended on a flat note.
Nestle India was top Nifty loser, the stock fell 3 per cent to close at Rs 16,700 after its December quarter earnings missed expectations. Asian Paints, Maruti Suzuki, Bajaj Finserv, HDFC Bank, Divi's Labs, IndusInd Bank, Dr Reddy's Labs, HDFC, Wipro and Cipla also fell between 1.6-2.6 per cent.
On the flipside, Adani Pots rose nearly 3 per cent to close at Rs 654 after it completed the acquisition of Dighi Port for Rs 705 crore. Adani Ports will invest more than Rs 10,000 crore in developing Dighi Port as an alternate gateway to JNPT, the company said in a regulatory filing to the stock exchanges. This would enable APSEZ to service customers in Maharashtra and development in the Mumbai and Pune regions.
Hero MotoCorp, Bharat Petroleum, State Bank of India, Power Grid, GAIL India, HDFC Life, Coal India and NTPC also rose between 1.2-3 per cent.