The domestic bourses continued their losing streak for the third straight session on Friday as investors' sentiments were dented by reports of Russian strikes at Europe's largest nuclear plant in Ukraine. The sustained selling by foreign investors and record surge in commodity prices also injected negativity in the market.

The 30-share Sensex opened lower today and declined as much as 1,215 points intraday, before closing 769 points, or 1.4%, down at 54,334. The Nifty 50 index hit an intraday low of 16,134 but reversed losses to settle at 16,243, down 255 points or 1.5%.

In line with the benchmark indices, the broader markets also ended in negative terrain. The BSE midcap index closed 2.36% lower, while the smallcap index dropped 1.64%.

The overall market strength was weak, with 2,255 shares declining out of 3,734 traded shares. As many as 1,342 advanced, and 137 remained unchanged.

“Currently, the markets worldwide are spooked with the events happening in Europe, which are causing volatility. FIIs have been sellers for almost 6 months now, and have sold cumulatively ₹200,000 crore in this period. Commodities are hitting highs across the board – oil, coal, metals, agri-commodities. These have a bearing on the market and are dampening sentiment. Their impact on markets is visible, with increase in volatility and declining equity prices,” says Vineet Bagri, managing partner, TrustPlutus Wealth.

“However, the fact that this selling by foreign investors has been absorbed by domestic investors bodes well for the outlook of Indian markets. Additionally, we have better policy stability, relatively calmer rupee, room in taxes to absorb fuel price hikes, accommodative stance by the RBI and rising capex spends by the government. These will limit the downside in our equity markets,” adds Bagri.

Top gainers and losers

Jewellery-to-watch maker Titan Company was the biggest loser on the Sensex pack with a 5.05% loss. The other top laggards include Maruti Suzuki India, Asian Paints, Mahindra & Mahindra and Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUL), which fell up to 4.7%.

On the gaining side, pharma major Dr. Reddy's Laboratories topped the chart by rising 2.95%. Some of the top performers include Tech Mahindra, UltraTech Cement and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, which rose in the range of 1%-2.8%.

All sectors end in red, auto and metal lead

The market saw broad-based selling with all sectoral indices closing in red on Friday. Auto and metal indices were among the worst performers, while IT and technology sectors declined the least.

The BSE auto index emerged as the top laggard on the sectoral front for the third straight session with a 3.4% loss. The fall in auto space was led by TVS Motor Company, Maruti Suzuki India, Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp and Ashok Leyland.

The auto index was followed by the metal sector, which closed 3.35% lower, led by Vedanta, Hindustan Zinc, Coal India, Hindalco Industries and Steel Authority of India (SAIL).

Global stocks slump on reports of nuclear plant fire in Ukraine

Equity markets across the globe witnessed bearish trade on Friday amid reports of a nuclear power plant fire in war-hit Ukraine.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Hang Seng index in Hong Kong emerged as the worst performer by falling 2.5%, followed by Japan’s Nikkei 225, which closed 2.2% lower. South Korea’s KOSPI shed 1.2%, while the Straits Times Index in Singapore dipped 0.8%.

In mainland China, the Shenzhen Component and the Shanghai Composite tumbled 1.4% and 0.96%, respectively.

Meanwhile, European stocks also opened sharply lower today. Germany’s DAX and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 index crashed nearly 3% in early deals. France’s CAC index dived 3.2%, while Spain’s IBEX 35 plunged 2.8%.

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