The benchmark indices witnessed a massive sell-off on Thursday, with the BSE Sensex declining as much as 1,418 points, or 2.45%, intraday after the U.S. Federal Reserve in its policy meeting indicated interest rates hike by March 2022. However, the market staged a smart recovery to reverse half of the early losses as traders stepped in to buy beaten-down stocks. The market also witnessed volatility as traders rolled over their positions in the F&O segment on the expiry of January contracts.

The BSE Sensex closed 581 points or 1% lower at 57,277, and the NSE Nifty ended down by 168 points, or 0.97%, at 17,110. Earlier today, the 30-share Sensex opened lower, following a slump in Asian stocks, and dropped as much as 1,418 points to hit an intraday low of 56,439. In a similar trend, Nifty50 tumbled 411 points, or 2.4%, to touch a day’s low of 16,867 points.

In line with the benchmark indices, the broader markets also settled in negative terrain. The S&P BSE Midcap index fell 1.25%, while the S&P BSE Smallcap index shed 0.82%.

The overall market breadth on the BSE was also negative, with 2,019 shares declining out of total 3,746 traded stocks. Out of the total shares, 1,603 shares advanced and 124 were unchanged.

Bank, PSU index offset losses in IT, tech

On the sectoral front, bank and PSU indices were among top performers, while IT and Tech emerged as top laggards. The BSE IT index declined the most by falling 3.1%, led by IndiaMART InterMESH, Coforge, MindTree, Affle (India), and Mastek. The IT sector was followed by the Tech index, which closed 2.75% lower. The top losers across tech sectors were MindTree, Vodafone Idea, Tanla Platforms, Hughes Ispat, and Larsen & Toubro Infotech.

Top gainers and losers

The top gainer on the BSE Sensex pack was Axis Bank, which ended 2.81% higher. Some of the other notable gainers include State Bank of India, Maruti Suzuki India, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, which gained in the range of 0.6% to 2.75%.

On the flip side, IT major HCL Technologies topped the losers chart by falling 4.17% on the BSE. The other top laggards include Tech Mahindra, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, Wipro, and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), falling up to 3.6%.

Shares in News

Axis Bank: Shares of private sector lender ended 2.8% higher after Standard and Poor's (S&P) upgraded the bank’s outlook from "stable" to "positive", citing improvement in asset quality of the lender. The agency also affirmed 'BB+' long-term and 'B' short-term issuer credit ratings on the bank under revised criteria.

Canara Bank: Shares of the public sector lender jumped 8.6% after it reported strong earnings for December quarter of 2021. The bank’s net profit surged 115.8% year-on-year to ₹1,502 crore for the third quarter ended December 2021, driven by steady growth in net interest income and drop in provisions.

Future Enterprises: Shares of the Kishore Biyani-led company ended nearly 1% higher after it unveiled plans to sell its 25% equity stake in Future Generali India Insurance Company (FGIICL) to its JV partner Generali for a cash consideration of ₹1,253 crore. Future Group has decided to exit the insurance business and monetise its assets to pare debts. FGIICL, which operates in the general insurance sector, is a joint venture between Future Enterprises Ltd (FEL) and Generali Participations Netherlands NV (Generali).

Sterlite Technologies: The technology company ended lower even after it secured a ₹170 crore order for building a unified network management system (UNMS) for Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL).

Torrent Pharma: Shares of pharma company ended 15% lower after it reported disappointing earnings for the December quarter of the current fiscal. The company’s consolidated net profit declined by 16% YoY to ₹249 crore for the third quarter ended December 2021 on account of muted performance in the US market.

Asian stocks bleed in red

Shares in the Asia-Pacific region ended sharply lower on Thursday as concerns about sooner-than-expected policy tightening by the US Federal Reserve triggered a sell-off in global equities. The escalating tensions in the Russia-Ukraine conflict also injected negativity in the market.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 ended 3.1% lower, following weak cues from Wall Street. The concerns about the fast spread of the coronavirus omicron variant in the country also weighed on investor sentiments.

South Korea’s KOSPI was the worst performer in the region by falling 3.5%, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong dropped 2%. Australia’s ASX 200 index settled 1.8% lower.

In mainland China, the Shenzhen component and the Shanghai composite nosedived 2.8% and 1.8%, respectively.

European stocks trade mixed

European stocks were trading mixed in early trade as investors reacted to the latest monetary policy decision from the U.S. Federal Reserve. Germany’s DAX shed 0.22% in early deals, while France’s CAC index rose 0.1%. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index rose 0.5%, while Spain’s IBEX index surged 0.6%.

In the overnight trade on Wednesday, the major U.S. indices closed lower in volatile trade after the policymakers made it clearer that the Federal Reserve is set to hike the key benchmark rate by March to check inflation. The S&P 500 closed 0.25 lower after rising more than 2% in early trade. In a similar trend, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.4%, while the Nasdaq Composite ended 0.2% higher.

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