With several blue chip stocks trading weak on sustained selling pressure, the market, which drifted lower within minutes of commencement of trade this morning, continues to languish in the red.
The Sensex, which declined to 19,679.99, is currently at 19,703, down 61.78 points or 0.32% from its previous close. The Nifty is down 19.75 points or 0.33% at 5989.75.
With the euphoria over the U.S. policymakers agreeing on a deal to avert the fiscal cliff having subsided to a significant extent, investors across the globe appear keen on taking some profits today. And the mood, back home, is not any different.
Metal stocks, among the top gainers in recent sessions, have drifted lower today on selling pressure. Realty, FMCG and automobile stocks too are mosty trading weak. Bank and capital goods stocks are also seen struggling for support.
PSU and oil stocks are trading firm. Select information technology and healthcare stocks are also up in positive territory with notable gains. Midcap and smallcap stocks are mostly flat due to profit taking.
Metal stocks Sterlite Industries, Hindalco, Tata Steel and Jindal Steel & Power are trading weak, losing 2.2% to 2.8%.
Hindustan Zinc, Sesa Goa, Bhushan Steel, JSW Steel and SAIL are also trading notably lower.
HDFC, HDFC Bank, Tata Power and Tata Motors are down 1% - 1.6%. Bajaj Auto, Reliance Industries, Larsen & Toubro and Hero Motocorp are also trading weak.
Among the stocks in the Realty index, Phoenix Mills, DLF, Indiabulls Real Estate, Prestige Estates, Parsvnath Developers and Unitech are down 1% - 2.1%. Anant Raj Industries, Godrej Properties, HDIL and Sobha Developers are trading lower by 0.4% - 0.8%.
According to reports, Sobha Developers sold properties worth Rs 533 crore in December quarter of FY 2013, nearly 19% higher than what it sold in the corresponding quarter in fiscal 2012 but 1.1% higher than what it sold in the second quarter of this financial year.
FMCG stocks United Breweries, Tata Global Beverage, United Spirits, Jubilant Foodworks, ITC, Dabur India, Colgate Palmolive and Hindustan Unilever are trading weak.
According to media reports, Infosys is planning to lay off up to 5,000 employees as the software services provider looks to cut costs and boost sales. Infosys is currently trading marginally up from its previous closing price.
ONGC, BPCL, HCL Technologies, Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services, GAIL India, BHEL, Coal India, Maruti Suzuki, Ambuja Cements and ICICI Bank are up in positive territory with notable gains.
On the economic front, India's services sector expanded further in December - registering the fastest pace of growth in three months, driven by a sharp rise in new business orders, according to a survey by HSBC.
The HSBC's Services Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for December stood at 55.6, up from 52.1 in the previous month, signalling a sharp expansion in activity.