Closing Bell: Sensex ends 746 points lower, Nifty down 1.5%; banking, metal sectors drag most

Indian indices ended 1.5 percent lower on Friday mainly dragged by banking, financial and metal sectors. Apart from these, the decline in heavyweight Reliance Industries further dragged the index ahead of its December quarter earnings.

Meanwhile, Asian shares also eased from record highs, as investors took some profits after a recent rally that was driven by hopes of a massive U.S. economic stimulus plan by incoming President Joe Biden.

The Sensex ended 746 points lower at 48,878 while the Nifty fell 218 points to settle at 14,372. Both indices also ended the week in red, down around 0.4 percent each.

“Indian indices tumbled on afternoon trade dragged by weak global markets and selling seen in Metal and Banking indices. Positive outlook for Auto and IT stocks helped them to retain their momentum even during today’s correction. European markets fell today on weak UK retail sales numbers and increasing restrictions in the Eurozone, while Asian markets followed its European peers. The decisions taken in the upcoming Union Budget along with the policies of the new US Government are expected to define momentum in the near term,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.

Broader markets also pared gains to end lower today. The Nifty Midcap index was down 1 percent while the Nifty Smallcap index lost 0.5 percent for the day. Meanwhile, the volatility index was up 1 percent.

On the Nifty50 index, Bajaj Auto, Hero Moto, HUL, Eicher Motors, And UltraTech Cement were the top gainers while, Axis Bank, Asian Paints, JSW Steel, Hindalco and ICICI Bank led the losses.

Among sectors, the Nifty Metal lost 3.7 percent while the banking index was down 3 percent. The Nifty Fin services and realty indices also lost 2.5 percent each and pharma shed 1 percent. However, the auto index rallied for the day, gained over a percent on the back of robust Bajaj Auto earnings.

Bajaj Auto rose 11 percent after the auto major clocked its highest-ever standalone profit and turnover in the December quarter. The company’s standalone net profit rose 23 percent year-on-year to Rs 1,556.28 crore versus Rs 1,261.6 crore in the year-ago period.

Bandhan Bank declined 7.6 percent after certain brokerages cut FY21 earnings estimates for the bank due to elevated credit costs seen ahead.

Biocon shares plunged 11 percent after the company’s December quarter earnings failed to meet Street estimates with the net profit and operating income declining.

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