The Indian equity benchmarks erased intraday gains owing to volatility ahead of monthly expiry of April futures and option contracts due later in the day. The Sensex crashed as much as 818 points from the day’s highest level and Nifty 50 index which reclaimed 15,000 mark in the morning trade touched an intraday low of 14,815 owing to selling pressure in banking and financial services shares.
As of 11:06 am, the Sensex was down 169 points at 49,565 and Nifty 50 index fell 37 points to 14,827.
Traders were seen squaring off their positions ahead of monthly derivatives expiry which led to volatility in the markets, analysts said. Meanwhile, rising Covid-19 cases in the country and lack of medical facilities also added to risk-averse investor sentiment on the street.
Selling pressure was broad-based as nine of 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower led by the Nifty PSU Bank index’s 1.5 per cent fall. Nifty Bank, Auto, Financial Services, Media, Private Bank and Realty sector gauges were also trading lower.
On the other hand, metal and pharma stocks were witnessing buying interest.
Mid- and small-cap shares also succumbed to selling pressure as Nifty Midcap 100 index fell 0.3 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index dropped 0.1 per cent.
State Bank of India was top Nifty loser, the stock fell 2 per cent to Rs 356. Hero MotoCorp, Eicher Motors, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Asian Paints, Tata Consumer Products, Larsen & Toubro, HDFC, Bajaj Auto, HDFC Bank, Bharti Airtel, Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors also fell between 0.7-1.8 per cent.
On the flipside, JSW Steel, Tata Steel, Bajaj Finserv, Bajaj Finance, Dr Reddy’s Labs, Hindalco, UPL and Reliance Industries were among the gainers.
The overall market breadth turned negative as 1,583 shares were declining while 1,076 were advancing on the BSE.