Indian equity benchmarks fell sharply on Tuesday mirroring loses in global markets after drugmaker Moderna's CEO set off fresh alarm bells in financial markets on Tuesday after he warned that COVID-19 vaccines were unlikely to be as effective against the Omicron variant as they have been against the Delta version. . The Sensex fell over 1,250 points from the day's highest level and Nifty 50 index tumbled below 17,000 after hitting high of 17,324. Meanwhile, investors awaited gross domestic product data that is expected to show the country's economic recovery strengthened in the second quarter.
The Sensex fell 196 point to close at 57,065 and Nifty 50 index dropped 71 points to close at 16,983.
Crude oil futures shed more than a dollar, the Australian currency hit a year low, and Nikkei gave up gains as Stephane Bancel's comments spurred fears that vaccine resistance could lead to more sickness and hospitalisations, prolonging the pandemic.
The uncertainty about the new variant has triggered global alarm, with border closures casting a shadow over a nascent economic recovery from a two-year pandemic.
Back home, economists have projected data due at 5:30 pm will show an 8.4 per cent year-on-year growth in the July-September period, according to a Reuters poll last week, the fastest pace among major economies, versus a 7.5 per cent contraction in the same quarter last year.
Eleven of 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended lower led by the Nifty Metal index's over 2 per cent fall. Nifty Bank, PSU Bank, Private Bank, Media, Auto and Financial Services indexes also fell between 0.7-1 per cent.
On the other hand, consumer durables, IT and FMCG shares witnessed buying interest.
Mid- and small-cap shares outperformed their larger peers as Nifty Midcap 100 index rose 0.3 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index advanced 1.4 per cent.
Go Fashion shares made a stellar stock market debut on Tuesday. The stock opened for trading at Rs 1,310 on the National Stock Exchange, up 90 per cent from its issue price of Rs 690 per share. On the BSE, Go Fashion shares opened for trading at Rs 1,316, up 91 per cent from the IPO price.
Tata Steel was top Nifty loser, the stock fell 4 per cent to close at Rs 1,070. Kotak Mahindra Bank, JSW Steel, Adani Ports, Bajaj Auto, IndusInd Bank, Mahindra & Mahindra, Bharti Airtel, Hero MotoCorp, Hindalco, Reliance Industries and Coal India also fell between 1.6-3.1 per cent.
On the flipside, Power Grid, Shree Cements, Bajaj Finserv, Titan, Tata Consumer Products, SBI Life, Infosys, Wipro, Bajaj Finance and TCS were among the gainers.
The overall market breadth was positive as positive as 1,779 shares ended higher while 1,471 closed lower on the BSE.