Indian equity benchmarks on Thursday traded lower in opening deals amid weak global cues. Asian stocks fell as investors worried about the outlook for more rate hikes ahead of a key policy meeting of the European Central Bank later in the day, tracking an overnight decline in Wall Street.
Trends on the Nifty Futures on Singapore Exchange (SGX Nifty) indicated a gap-down start for the domestic indices.
The 30-share BSE Sensex slipped 373 points or 0.68 per cent to 54,520, while the broader NSE Nifty moved 110 points or 0.67 per cent down to trade at 16,247.
Mid- and small-cap shares were weak as Nifty Midcap 100 fell 0.25 per cent and small-cap shed 0.13 per cent.
11 out of the 15 sector gauges — compiled by the National Stock Exchange — were trading in the red. Sub-indexes Nifty FMCG, Nifty IT and Nifty Consumer Durables were underperforming the NSE platform by falling as much as 0.70 per cent, 0.75 per cent and 0.61 per cent, respectively.
On the stock-specific front, Asian Paints was the top Nifty loser as the stock cracked 1.36 per cent to Rs 2,653.05. Grasim, Britannia, Bajaj Finance and Shree Cement were also among the laggards.
The overall market breadth was slightly strong as 1,258 shares were advancing while 1,135 were declining on BSE.
On the 30-share BSE index, Asian Paints, Bajaj Finance, PowerGrid, Bajaj Finserv, Axis Bank, Nestle India, Titan, SBI, L&T, TCS, HCL Tech and Hindustan Unilever were among the top losers.
Also, shares of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), the country’s biggest insurer and largest domestic financial investor, plunged 1.94 per cent to hit an all-time intraday low of Rs 723.70.
In contrast, Dr Reddy’s, Reliance Industries, Sun Pharma, Maruti, Infosys and Tech Mahindra were trading in the green.
Sensex had dropped 215 points or 0.39 per cent to close at 54,892 on Wednesday, while Nifty had moved 60 points or 0.37 per cent down to settle at 16,356.