Mumbai, Sept 3: Benchmark equity indices closed lower in a volatile trade on Thursday, dragged by losses mainly in banking counters as overall weak macroeconomic scenario weighed on investor sentiment. The BSE Sensex ended 95.09 points or 0.24 per cent lower at 38,990.94; and the NSE Nifty closed 7.55 points or 0.07 per cent down at 11,527.45.
On the Sensex chart, ICICI Bank was the top loser, shedding around 2 per cent, followed by Bharti Airtel, Axis Bank, Kotak Bank and PowerGrid. On the other hand, Titan, Tech Mahindra, Nestle, Maruti, Sun Pharma and Asian Paints were among the gainers.
Sectorally, BSE bankex, finance, metal, energy, realty and utilities indices fell up to 1.51 per cent. While consumer durables, IT, teck, capital goods, industrials and auto indices rose up to 3.37 per cent.
Broader midcap and smallcap indices outperformed the BSE benchmark, ending up to 0.74 per cent higher. "Markets exhibited volatility and ended flat for the day, switching between gains and losses. However, global markets, especially Europe, were generally positive for the day, anticipating better economic data, Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services, said.
Domestically, data emerged that the services sector had contracted for the 6th consecutive month, in spite of phased reopening of the economy in the last two months, he said, adding that this has led to worries that the comeback, foreseen for the economy, could be long drawn out. The market turned negative after the latest IHS Markit Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) contracted for the sixth successive month in August.
The seasonally adjusted India Services Business Activity Index rose sharply from 34.2 in July to 41.8 in August, the highest since March, before the escalation of the pandemic. The downturn in India's services sector activity eased in August but remained in the contraction zone as COVID-19 pandemic-induced restrictions continued to adversely impact client demand and business operations.
Bourses in Shanghai and Hong Kong ended in the red, while Tokyo and Seoul closed with gains. Stock exchanges on in Europe were trading on a positive note in early deals.
Global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 1.40 per cent lower at USD 43.81 per barrel. In the forex market, the rupee depreciated 44 paise and closed at 73.47 against the US dollar.