Domestic stock markets started Monday’s session on a lacklustre note, with benchmark indices S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty 50 halting a record breaking run, amid unease over a new coronavirus strain that was shutting much of the United Kingdom. The Sensex index dropped 266.74 points, or 0.57 per cent, to hit 46,693.95 at the weakest level recorded in early deals, and the broader Nifty benchmark slid to as low as 13,674.40, down 86.15 points, or 0.63 per cent, from its previous close. Selling pressure across sectors — led by banking, financial services, automobile and metal shares —pulled the markets lower, however buying interest in IT and pharmaceutical shares provided some support.
Tata Motors, ICICI Bank, Divi’s Laboratories, GAIL, Mahindra & Mahindra, State Bank of India (SBI) and Axis Bank, trading between 1.85 per cent and 2.44 per cent lower, were the worst hit among 42 laggards in the Nifty basket of 50 shares.
Among the top gainers were Larsen & Toubro, Reliance Industries, Cipla, Sun Pharma and Adani Ports, trading between 0.45 per cent and 2.20 per cent higher. (Also Read: Stocks To Watch)
ICICI Bank (down 2.16 per cent), HDFC (0.92 per cent), Axis Bank (1.73 per cent) and SBI (1.55 per cent) were the biggest drags on Sensex. The four accounted for around 150 points in the loss in the 30-scrip index.
Equity markets in other parts of Asia faltered, despite news a deal had finally been struck on a long-awaited US stimulus bill.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair an emergency response meeting on Monday to discuss international travel and the flow of freight in and out of Britain.
That combined with the lack of a Brexit deal to cut 1 per cent off FTSE futures, while EUROSTOXX 50 futures shed 1.5 per cent.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.2 per cent after hitting a string of record peaks last week. Japan’s Nikkei reversed early gains to be down 0.6 per cent, off its highest since April 1991.
In the United States, Republican US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said an agreement had been reached by congressional leaders on a roughly $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill.
The news saw futures for the S&P 500 jump at first, only to fade to a loss of 0.1 per cent as the session progressed.