Sensex drops 120 pts in late sell-off; bank, auto stocks crack

Mumbai: Extending its fall for the fifth consecutive session, the BSE Sensex gave up early gains to end over 100 points lower on Wednesday, as investors booked profits in banking, auto, metal and pharma stocks in the last hour of trade.

Sustained selling by domestic institutional investors (DIIs) and foreign institutional investors (FIIs) too dented market mood, brokers said.

The benchmark BSE index opened higher at 36,279.63 and advanced to hit a high of 36,375.80 on the back of positive macroeconomic data as retail inflation fell to a 19-month low on continued decline in food prices and positive cues from other Asian markets.

It, however, succumbed to profit-booking to touch a low of 35,962.79 on heavy selling at the fag-end. The index finally ended 119.51 points, or 0.33 per cent, lower at 36,034.11. The gauge had lost over 720 points in the previous four days.

The NSE Nifty settled the day 37.75 points, or 0.35 per cent, down at 10,793.65 after shuttling between 10,891.65 and 10,772.10 during the day.

Sectorally, BSE bankex, auto, metal and healthcare indices ended up to 1.1 per cent lower. Top losers include ONGC, SBI, PowerGrid, L&T, Yes Bank, Asian Paints, Bajaj Finance, Maruti and NTPC, falling up to 2.84 per cent.

On the other hand, gainers include Tata Motors, TCS, HDFC, HCL Tech, Infosys, ITC, HDFC Bank and HUL, rising up to 2.18 per cent.

“The inflation print on Tuesday and follow-on action with bond yields falling to 7.28 per cent seem to be telegraphing an additional rate cut by the RBI, said Sunil Sharma, Chief Investment Officer, Sanctum Wealth Management.

Despite markets global markets trading higher as US President Donald Trump hinted a more conciliatory stance toward China, Indian markets have not been able to sustain higher levels, suggesting caution on the part of investors and profit taking, he added.

Overseas, most Asian stocks ended higher and European equities were in a better shape as investors grew more optimistic on the prospects for a resolution to the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China.

On a net basis, FIIs sold shares worth Rs 466.78 crore, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) offloaded shares worth Rs 122.64 crore on Tuesday, provisional data showed.

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