As stock prices drifted lower, the key indices Sensex and Nifty plunged deeper into the red after a weak start this morning, hitting their lowest levels in nearly 14 weeks. With the mood remaining bearish amid a lack of fresh triggers, investors are quite reluctant to build up positions.
The Sensex, which declined to 18,760.41, is currently at 18,825.21, down 93.31 points or 0.5% from its previous close. The Nifty is down with a loss of 36 points or 0.63% at 5683.70, around 20 points off the day's low of 5663.60.
Metal, consumer durables, capital goods, power, FMCG and realty stocks are mostly trading notably lower at present. Automobile and PSU stocks are also trading weak. Healthcare and oil stocks are trading mixed. Select bank and information technology stocks are up in positive territory with notable gains.
Among metal stocks, Sterlite Industries, Sesa Goa, Hindalco, Jindal Steel & Power, NMDC and SAIL are down 2% - 3%. Tata Steel, Coal India, Hindustan Zinc and JSW Steel are trading lower by 1.4% - 1.8%.
Among the stocks in the Capital Goods index, Bharat Earth Movers, Alstom T&D, AIL, Larsen & Toubro, Havells India, Jindal Saw, Punj Lloyd, Siemens and Welcorp are down 1.4% - 3.5%. Pipavav Defence, Praj Industries and Suzlon Energy are trading lower by over 3.5%.
NHPC, down 16.6%, is the biggest loser in the Power index. ABB, Adani Power, CESC, JSW Energy, Lanco Infratech, Power Grid Corporation, Reliance Power and Torrent Power are down 1% - 2.2%.
FMCG heavyweights ITC and Hindustan Unilever are down 1.5% and 1.7%, respectively. Dabur India, Tata Global Beverage, United Breweries and United Spirits are down 1% - 3.6%, while Colgate Palmolive (4%) and Nestle India (1%) are bucking the trend and trading notably higher.
Among automobile stocks, Bajaj Auto is down by a little over 2%. Bajaj Auto has announced that vehicles sales declined 3% in February 2013, to 332,387 units as compared to 3,43,777 units in February 2012. Meanwhile, total exports stood at 135,149 units as compared to 122,727 units in February 2012, a growth of 10%.
Hero Motocorp is down by around 1% and Mahindra & Mahindra is trading 0.7% down, while Maruti Suzuki is down with a loss of 1.6%. Tata Motors is trading flat.
Shares of PSU oil marketing firms surged higher in early trades this morning, following a hike in petrol price. On Friday, Indian Oil Corporation hiked petrol price by Rs 1.40 per litre. BPCL and Indian Oil Corporation are trading notably higher, while Hindustan Petroleum Corporation retreated after a positive start.
Dr Reddy's Laboratories, ICICI Bank, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro, otak Bank, Bharti Airtel, State Bank of India and ONGC are up in positive territory with modest gains.
In the currency market, the rupee weakened to 55.05 against the U.S. dollar, a near two-month low, in early trade at the Interbank Foreign Exchange market due to increased demand for the US currency from oil importers.
On Friday, the partially convertible Indian rupee had ended at 54.89 against the greenback, losing as much as 53 paise.