Sensex halts 4-day win, falls 621 points, Nifty below 17,750

UltraTech Cements, TechM, HCL Tech, HDFC Twins and RIL were the biggest losers on the BSE.

New Delhi: Indian equity benchmarks fell on Thursday, halting a four-day winning streak amid a huge jump in Covid-19 cases and aggressive stance by the US Federal Reserve. India has recorded 90,928 new Covid cases in a day, which is the highest in 200 days. And, the US Fed’s December policy meeting has pointed to accelerated interest rate hikes to tame persistent high inflation.

The 30-share BSE Sensex closed 621 points or 1.03 per cent lower at 59,602, while the broader NSE Nifty ended 179 points or 1 per cent lower at 17,746.

However, the Nifty Midcap 100 index gained 0.13 per cent and the Nifty Smallcap 100 index rose 0.21 per cent, with marginal gains in midcap and smallcap stocks.

“Markets are facing downward pressure after touching their all-time high in October. While the economy is recovering on expected lines, global cues by central banks across the world indicating an end to balance sheet expansion In this context, the US Fed’s tough stance is not surprising, but today’s negative market reaction is mainly due to signs of balance sheet shrinkage in the Fed minutes released. Expressed concern over rising inflation and the possibility of a rate hike. This was followed by a downtrend in the balance sheet,” said Mohit Ralhan, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer, TIW Private Equity ndtv,

“While the timing remains uncertain, market participants now expect this to happen sooner than later. Furthermore, the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the world has also raised the risk level. Overall, we are currently in the markets. Stay alert,” he added.

Of the 15 sector gauges, 11 – compiled by the National Stock Exchange – closed in the red. Nifty IT, Nifty Financial Services and Nifty Bank fell up to 1.55 per cent.

On the stock-specific front, JSW Steel was the top Nifty as the stock was down 2.98 per cent at Rs 673.80. UltraTech Cements, Shree Cement, Tech Mahindra and Adani Ports were also among the losers.

On the flipside, UPL Ltd., IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Auto, Maruti and Bharti Airtel were among the gainers.

Overall, the market remained positive as 2,000 shares advanced while 1,389 declined on the BSE.

UltraTech Cements, Tech Mahindra, HCL Tech, HDFC Twins (HDFC and HDFC Bank), Reliance Industries and Kotak Mahindra Bank were the biggest losers on the BSE 30-share platform, falling 2.58 per cent in their shares. The gainers included Maruti, Airtel, Bajaj Finance, Titan and Axis Bank.