The Indian equity market continued lacklustre trade for the third consecutive session as it struggled for a firm direction in absence of any major development on the domestic or global front. Adding to it, mixed cues from global peers also weighed on the market as persistent concerns about Ukraine-Russia tensions and fear of aggressive policy stance by the U.S. Federal Reserve triggered a sell-off in global equities. The Ukraine crisis prompted investors to go into the risk-off mode and shift focus to safe-haven assets.

Extending fall for the third session, the BSE Sensex closed 59 points, or 0.1%, lower at 57,833, and the NSE Nifty shed 23 points, or 1.16%, to 17,276.

In a similar trend, the broader markets also ended lower. The S&P BSE Midcap and Smallcap index dropped 0.8% each.

The overall market breadth on the BSE was negative, with 2,272 shares falling out of a total of 3,706 traded stocks. Only 1,288 shares advanced and 146 were unchanged.

Barring capital goods and bank, all sectors end in red

On the sectoral front, all indices closed in negative terrain, except capital goods and banks. The BSE realty index was the biggest loser with a 1.23% loss, led by Sobha, Godrej Industries, Indiabulls Real Estate, Sunteck Realty, and DLF.

The BSE oil and gas index also witnessed a surge in selling and ended 1.14% lower. The top losers in the oil&gas space were ONGC, Adani Total Gas, Petronet LNG, HPCL, and Reliance Industries.

Top gainers and losers

The BSE barometer and benchmark Sensex closed tad lower with 13 of top 30 shares closing higher. The top gainer on the Sensex pack was mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd. (HDFC), which ended 1.25% higher.

The other notable gainers include Larsen & Toubro, Axis Bank, State Bank of India, and Kotak Mahindra Bank, which rose up to 0.7%.

On the losing side, UltraTech Cement topped the chart by falling 2.03%. Some of the other worst performers include Mahindra & Mahindra, Infosys, Reliance Industries, and Bajaj Finance, which dropped in the range of 0.7%-1.4%.

Shares in news

Ambuja Cements: Shares of the company ended 5.9% lower after it reported a weak operational performance for December quarter due to higher fuel prices and flat realisations. Profit after tax was down 36.2 per cent YoY to ₹317.4 crore mainly due to drop in operating margins and exceptional charge of ₹65.7 crore due to restructuring.

G R Infraprojects: The share of construction & engineering company closed 2.3% lower, after dropping as much as 4% to hit an all-time low of ₹1,485.80 on the BSE. The stock price has nosedived 22% so far this month of February after it reported disappointing earnings for the December quarter (Q3FY22).

TCPL Packaging: Shares of TCPL Packaging rallied 20% to a hit 52-week high of ₹727 on strong outlook. The company has reported a 20% year-on-year (YoY) rise in cash profit at ₹34.8 crore for December quarter (Q3FY22), while revenue climbed 12.9% YoY at ₹274 crore.

Venky's (India): Shares of poultry processing company closed 2.2% lower following bird flu reports in Thane, Maharashtra.

Veritas India: The share price slipped 2% as investors weighed disappointed December quarter earnings. The net profit dropped 40% year-on-year to ₹17.8 crore in the third quarter of the current financial year as against ₹29.5 crore the same time a year ago.

Global equities mixed on Ukraine woes

Shares in the Asia-Pacific region and in the European market were trading mixed today amid looming fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. U.S. President Joe Biden has warned that Moscow could be on the brink of invading Ukraine as it failed to pull back troops from the border. Russia has amassed 45,000 soldiers in Belarus, near the Ukraine border.

Australia’s ASX 200 index ended 1% lower, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index dropped 0.4%, and the Straits Times Index in Singapore shed 0.35%.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was the worst performer in the region with a 1.88% loss, while Taiwan Weighted dipped 0.2%.

On the flip side, China's mainland shares were among the best performers in the regional market, with the Shenzhen Component and the Shanghai Composite rising 0.27% and 0.66%, respectively. South Korea’s KOSPI ended a tad higher, Indonesia's Jakarta Composite surged 0.84%, and Thailand’s SET Composite ended marginally higher.

In the European market, stocks opened on a mixed note, following a negative finish at Wall Street overnight. Investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy outcome as the central bank will begin its two-day meeting tonight. Germany’s DAX edges lower in early trade, while France’s CAC index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 index trade a tad higher.

In the overnight trade, all three major U.S. indices closed lower amid concerns about political tensions between Russia and Ukraine. The Nasdaq composite index was the worst performer with a 2.9% loss as growth-driven tech stocks were hammered by rate hike concerns. The S&P 500 dropped over 2%, and the Dow lost 1.8%.

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