The Indian equity benchmarks ended lower on Friday dragged by weakness in index heavyweights like Infosys, ICICI Bank, Hindustan Unilever, HDFC Bank, Bharti Airtel and Mahindra & Mahindra. Investor sentiment was dented by rising Coronavirus infections, analysts said. The Sensex fell as much as 411 points to hit an intraday low of 47,669.55 and Nifty 50 index briefly fell below its important psychological level of 14,300.
The Sensex ended 202 points lower at 47,878 and Nifty 50 index dropped 65 points or 0.45 per cent to close at 14,341.
Total cases of the novel coronavirus in India rose by another record of 332,730, while a record 2,263 people had died in the last 24 hours, as hospitals struggled to arrange oxygen supplies and intensive care beds for patients.
“As the rise in cases spreads from major cities to Tier-2 and Tier-3 towns, near-lockdown seems to be the only solution… there is uncertainty in the market surrounding the impact of the larger second wave on future earnings,” S Krishnakumar, an independent market analyst told news agency Reuters.
Eight of 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended lower led by the Nifty FMCG Index’s 1 per cent fall. Nifty Realty, IT, Private Bank, Bank, Auto and Metal indices also ended with a negative bias.
On the other hand, Nifty PSU Bank, Media and Financial Service indices closed higher.
Mid- and small-cap shares outperformed their larger peers as Nifty Midcap 100 index rose 0.3 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 advanced 0.5 per cent.
Britannia Industries was top Nifty lower, the stock fell nearly 3 per cent to Rs 3,643. Dr Reddy’s Labs, Wipro, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tech Mahindra, ICICI Bank, Hindustan Unilever, Adani Ports, Hindalco, Shree Cements, Bharti Airtel, Grasim industries and Infosys also fell between 1-3 per cent.
On the flipside, Power Grid, NTPCC, IndusInd Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Life, Bharat Petroleum, Coal India, Divi’s Labs, HDFC, SBIU Life and Bajaj Finserv were among the gainers.
The overall market breadth was positive as 1,566 shares ended higher while 1,352 closed lower on the BSE.
(With inputs from Reuters)