Equity indices tripped in the last half-an-hour of trade on Tuesday to notch up losses for the fifth consecutive session as finance and IT counters continued to bear the brunt of heavy selling amid negative global cues.
Russia ramping up its offensive in Ukraine, coupled with unabated foreign fund outflows, a depreciating rupee and inflationary concerns sapped investor confidence, traders said.
The 30-share BSE Sensex opened modestly higher and weathered bouts of volatility to trade in the positive territory, but succumbed to a sudden burst of selling towards the fag-end to close 703.59 points or 1.23 per cent lower at 56,463.15.
On similar lines, the broader NSE Nifty declined 215 points or 1.25 per cent to settle at 16,958.65.
The Sensex has now lost a hefty 2,984.03 points in five sessions, while the Nifty has shed 825.70 points.
HDFC and HDFC Bank were the biggest losers in the Sensex pack in Tuesday’s session, tumbling 5.50 per cent and 3.73 per cent, respectively.
Infosys, ITC, Tech Mahindra, HCL Technologies, HUL and Nestle India were among the other prominent laggards.
Only four counters managed to log gains — Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, SBI and Bajaj Finance, climbing up to 3.71 per cent.
“Bears attacked the market, especially in the last hour. HDFC twins along with Infosys remained key laggards for the second consecutive day, dragging the market sharply. The market remained resilient throughout the day but then there was a sudden sell-off in the last hour and we can say that there could be large FIIs selling post 2:30 PM.
“Apart from FIIs selling, rising energy prices, geopolitical concerns, and rising US bond yields are key concerns for the market,” said Parth Nyati, Founder, Tradingo.
Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services, said intensification of geopolitical tensions and hyperinflation as crude and metal prices rise worried the market.
“The Indian IT sector continued to lead the downtrend following sectorial headwinds highlighted in weak Q4 results. Quick sell-off was witnessed during the closing hours led by banking stocks due to FII selling as global market weakened,” he noted.
In the broader market, the BSE smallcap gauge declined 1.21 per cent and the midcap index lost 1.20 per cent.
Among BSE sectoral indices, IT declined the most by 2.64 per cent, followed by FMCG (2.57 per cent), teck (2.54 per cent), power (2.52 per cent) and realty (2.46 per cent).
Only energy and oil & gas posted gains, rising as much as 1.20 per cent.
As many as 2,179 stocks declined, while 1,234 advanced and 123 remained unchanged.
Global markets stayed on the back foot amid concerns over aggressive rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve to control runaway inflation.
In Asia, markets in Shanghai and Hong Kong settled lower, while Seoul and Tokyo were up.
Bourses in Europe dived after Ukraine said Russia has launched a renewed offensive in the east, in what is being seen as a new phase of the war.
International oil benchmark Brent crude skidded 1.39 per cent to USD 111.6 per barrel.
The rupee plunged 22 paise to close at 76.51 (provisional) against the US dollar, tracking a strong American currency in the overseas market and significant foreign fund outflows.
Foreign institutional investors continued their selling spree, offloading shares worth a net Rs 6,387.45 crore on Monday, according to exchange data.