MUMBAI, March 4 (PTI): The Sensex and Nifty lurched lower for the third day running on Friday, in lockstep with global equities, as risk-off sentiment prevailed amid Russia stepping up its military offensive against Ukraine.
A depreciating rupee, elevated oil prices and heavy selling by foreign investors also contributed to the decline, traders said.
The 30-share BSE Sensex opened weak and slumped over 1,200 points to the day’s low of 53,887.72, before recouping some losses to close at 54,333.81, down by 768.87 points or 1.40 per cent.
Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty slumped 252.70 points or 1.53 per cent to end at 16,245.35.
Titan, Maruti Suzuki, Asian Paints, Mahindra & Mahindra, Hindustan Unilever, Bajaj Finance and Axis Bank were the biggest drags on the Sensex, tumbling up to 5.05 per cent.
In contrast, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, ITC, Tech Mahindra, UltraTech Cement, Sun Pharma and Wipro were among the gainers, spurting as much as 2.95 per cent.
Market breadth was negative, with 23 of the 30 Sensex counters closing in the red.
“Global bourses are witnessing a sharp sell-off as reports of Russian attack on Europe’s biggest nuclear plant in Ukraine kept tension levels elevated. Rising oil prices along with uncertainties on supply chain disruption have instilled fears that inflation could cross RBI’s tolerance level, though temporarily,” according to Vinod Nair, head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.
In the holiday-shortened week, the Sensex tumbled 1,524.71 points, or 2.72 per cent, while the Nifty shed 413.05 points or 2.47 per cent.
“After the carnage witnessed last week, our market appears to be oscillating range bound. Such range-bound movement has been persisting for quite some time now as a result of increasing global tensions and prolonged sell-on-rise trends.
“…Despite the fact that we have seen a more than 10 per cent decline currently, we feel that this is a ‘pause’ before the rise resumes and not the commencement of a bear market,” said Yesha Shah, head of Equity Research, Samco Securities.
In the broader market, the BSE midcap and smallcap indices also faced heavy selling, tumbling up to 2.36 per cent on Friday.
All BSE sectoral indices finished lower, with auto, metal, consumer discretionary goods and services, consumer durables and realty taking the biggest hit, tanking as much as 3.40 per cent.
Bourses in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo settled significantly lower.
Stock exchanges in the US closed in the negative zone in the overnight session. European markets were also trading with deep cuts after Russian forces attacked Europe’s biggest nuclear plant as part of their military operations against Ukraine.
Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude rose 0.80 per cent to USD 111.3 per barrel.
The rupee slumped 23 paise to close at 76.17 against the US dollar on Friday.
Foreign institutional investors continued their selling spree in Indian markets as they offloaded shares worth Rs 6,644.65 crore on a net basis on Thursday, according to exchange data.