Equity benchmark Sensex dropped over 200 points in early trade on Wednesday tracking losses in index-heavyweights HDFC twins, ICICI Bank and ITC amid weak cues from global markets. The 30-share BSE index was trading 214.94 points or 0.53 per cent lower at 40,410.57, and the broader NSE Nifty fell 77.05 points or 0.65 per cent to 11,857.45.
ONGC was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding around 3 per cent, followed by NTPC, PowerGrid, UltraTech Cement, ITC, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and HDFC. On the other hand, Tata Steel, Bharti Airtel, HCL Tech, Asian Paints and Bajaj Auto were among the laggards.
In the previous session, Sensex ended 31.71 points or 0.08 per cent higher at 40,625.51. The broader NSE Nifty inched up 3.55 points or 0.03 per cent to 11,934.50. Exchange data showed that foreign institutional investors bought equities worth Rs 832.14 crore on a net basis on Tuesday.
Asian equities followed US Indices which ended lower as investors’ sentiment was hit after select drug-makers faced setbacks in vaccine trials of COVID-19, said Arjun Mahajan, Head – Institutional Business at Reliance Securities. Bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul were trading on a negative note in mid-session deals, while Tokyo was in the positive territory.
On Tuesday, independent monitors paused enrollment in a study testing the COVID-19 antiviral drug remdesivir plus, an experimental antibody therapy being developed by Eli Lilly. The company said the study was paused ”out of an abundance of caution”. The news followed a disclosure late Monday by Johnson & Johnson, which said it had to temporarily pause a late-stage study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.
On the domestic front, strong 2Q numbers from Wipro and expectations of better numbers from Infosys may continue to keep IT stocks in focus. Further, BFSI stocks may remain on edge ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on interest waiver, which was adjourned on Tuesday, Mahajan said.
Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.28 per cent lower at USD 42.33 per barrel.