MUMBAI, Nov 30 (PTI): Equity indices surrendered early gains to close in the red on Tuesday, mirroring the nervousness in world markets about the impact of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus on global economic recovery.
A depreciating rupee and unabated foreign fund outflows further weighed on sentiment, traders said.
After rallying over 900 points in intra-day trade, the 30-share BSE Sensex pared all gains to settle 195.71 points or 0.34 per cent lower at 57,064.87. Similarly, the NSE Nifty declined 70.75 points or 0.41 per cent to 16,983.20 — closing below the 17,000-mark for the first time in three months.
Tata Steel was the top laggard in the Sensex pack, tumbling 3.87 per cent, followed by Kotak Bank, Bajaj Auto, M&M, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Industries, IndusInd Bank and Maruti.
On the other hand, PowerGrid, Titan, Bajaj Finserv, Nestle India, Bajaj Finance and Infosys were among the gainers, jumping up to 3.43 per cent.
Vinod Nair, head of Research at Geojit Financial Services, said domestic indices started the session on a strong footing amid optimism in global markets following the US President’s announcement that lockdowns are currently off the table.
“However, the optimism was quickly substituted with a sudden sell-off in the domestic market as global equities slipped into negative territory following Omicron experts’ advice to be cautious. Defying the market trend, IT and healthcare stocks along with mid and small caps traded with gains,” he noted.
Global markets spiralled lower after drugmaker Moderna’s CEO Stephane Bancel warned that Covid-19 vaccines are unlikely to be as effective against Omicron as they have been against the Delta variant.
Domestic investors also remained on the sidelines ahead of the release of GDP numbers.
“Markets will first react to the GDP numbers in early trades on Wednesday and the auto sales will also start pouring in from December 1. Needless to say, the excessive news flow around the new Covid variant would keep the volatility high.
“Keeping in mind the scenario, it’s prudent to continue with hedged positions until the markets stabilise,” said Ajit Mishra, VP – Research, Religare Broking.
Sectorally, BSE metal, energy, auto, bankex and telecom indices lost as much as 2.34 per cent, while consumer durables, IT, realty and teck mustered gains. The broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices spurted up to 1.45 per cent.
Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo ended with losses, while Shanghai was positive.
Stock exchanges in Europe were in the negative zone in afternoon trade.
Meanwhile, the rupee closed 10 paise lower at 75.17 (provisional) against the US dollar. International oil benchmark Brent crude tumbled 3.12 per cent to USD 71.15 per barrel.
Foreign institutional investors remained net sellers in the capital market on Monday, as they offloaded shares worth Rs 3,332.21 crore, according to exchange data.