Sensex tanks 740 points amid F&O expiry, Nifty 50 sinks below 14,400

Equity benchmark Sensex plunged 740 points on Thursday, dragged by losses in index majors Reliance Industries, Infosys and HDFC Bank as monthly derivatives expired amid weak cues from global markets.

The 30-share BSE index ended 740.19 points or 1.51 per cent lower at 48,440.12, and the broader NSE Nifty declined 224.50 points or 1.54 per cent to 14,324.90.

Maruti was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding around 4 per cent, followed by Bharti Airtel, HUL, NTPC, Bajaj Finance, UltraTech Cement, ONGC and Reliance Industries.

On the other hand, Dr Reddy's, ICICI Bank, L&T and HDFC were the gainers.

Domestic equities fell as prevailing concerns with regards to sharp rise in COVID-19 cases have clearly dented investors' sentiments, said Binod Modi, Head - Strategy at Reliance Securities.

Barring financials and metals, all key sectoral indices ended in red.

Further, futures and options (F&O) expiry factor also contributed to volatility, he noted, adding that market capitalisation of domestic market slipped below Rs 200 trillion first time after February 3, 2021, resulting in wealth erosion of over Rs 5 trillion in last two days.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai and Hong Kong were in the red, while Tokyo and Seoul ended on a positive note.

Stock exchanges in Europe were trading with losses in mid-session deals.

Meanwhile, the global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 1.35 per cent lower at USD 63.54 per barrel.

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