The equity benchmarks on Thursday retreated from their record highs because of profit booking in financial stocks amid weak global cues following an increase in Covid cases in a number of countries. Weekly options expiry added to the volatility. The Sensex shed 580.09 points (1.31%) to close at 43,599.96 while the Nifty declined 166.55 points (1.29%) to close at 12,771.
The markets were primarily dragged down by banking stocks, with the Nifty Bank declining as much as 2.85%. SBI was the top laggard in the Sensex pack, tumbling 4.88%, followed by Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, UltraTech Cement, Bajaj Finance, HDFC Bank and Bharti Airtel.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) have so far in November pumped in $5.8 billion, which is the second highest after the $6-billion inflows seen in August on account of fund-raising by blue-chip companies. Domestic institutional investors have remained sellers and pulled out Rs 29,795 crore from the equity markets in November. On Thursday, FPIs bought stocks worth $157.4 million while domestic institutional investors sold stocks worth $380 million.
The futures and options segment on the NSE saw a turnover worth Rs 65.66 lakh crore and the cash market witnessed a turnover of Rs 76,974 crore. These numbers are against the six-month average of Rs 19.2 lakh crore and Rs 52,327.79 crore, respectively.
Siddhartha Khemka, head – retail research, Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said: “Global cues were weak as concerns over rising coronavirus infections and new shutdowns in major US cities overshadowed vaccine progress. Going ahead, the market is likely to be volatile as sentiments oscillate between fear of rising Covid-19 cases globally and optimism over vaccine progress. While the overall structure of the market remains positive, the rising Covid-19 cases in Delhi is a concern and needs to be watched out for, though the cases are falling in rest of India.”
Deepak Jasani, head – retail research, HDFC Securities, said: “World stocks fell for the third day in a row on Thursday tracking overnight weakness in Asia and Wall Street as widening COVID-19 limitations weighed on market sentiments.”