The Indian stock market opened higher this morning, on positive cues from Asian bourses, but retreated soon and then slipped into negative territory about an hour later, extending its losing streak to a fifth successive session.
After a firm start on positive global cues, and a subsequent fall into the red, the Indian stock market rebounded in mid morning trade on bargain hunting, but faltered again after trading in positive territory for over three hours, as worries about near term growth, political uncertainty and weak European markets triggered a sell-off around mid afternoon.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which advanced to 19,082.29 in early afternoon trade, tumbled to 18,756.65 later on and finally ended the day with a loss of 91.32 points or 0.48% at 18,792.87.
The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange settled at 5658.75, recording a loss of 35.65 points or 0.63%. It touched a high of 5757.75 and a low of 5647.95 during the session. While the Sensex hit its lowest mark since 27 November 2012, the Nifty touched its lowest level since 26 November 2012, during the session on Thursday.
Realty stocks started off well, but retreated soon, and kept sliding lower as the session progressed. Power, capital goods and automobile stocks too mostly ended with sharp losses.
PSU, oil, metal and healthcare stocks also closed weak. FMCG stocks saw some buying early on, but failed to sustain at higher levels. Bank stocks found some support after recent weakness. Select information technology and consumer durables stocks ended on a positive note.
Bajaj Auto lost around 4.6%. Tata Motors ended lower by 4.2% and Maruti Suzuki declined 2.4%, while Hero Motocorp lost 1.8%. Mahindra & Mahindra bucked the trend and ended on the positive side.
Tata Power shed a little over 4%. HDFC Bank lost more than 3%, while Hindalco, Tata Steel, Hindustan Unilever, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Cipla, BHEL and Reliance Industries lost 1% - 2.5%. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, ONGC, NTPC and ITC also closed notably lower.
Reliance Infrastructure, down more than 6.5%, was the most prominent loser in the Nifty index. Jaiprakash Associates lost nearly 6.5%. Bank of Baroda, DLF, IDFC, Siemens, Punjab National Bank, BPCL, Ambuja Cements, Power Grid Corporation and Cairn India ended lower by 2% - 5%. ACC, Asian Paints and Sesa Goa also closed weak.
Bharti Airtel ended 6% up on hectic bargain hunting at the counter after recent sharp losses. ICICI Bank moved up by 3.4% and HDFC gained 2.1%. Ultratech Cement (1.4%), Jindal Steel & Power (1.3%) and Axis Bank (up nearly 1%) also closed on a firm note. Wipro, Infosys, Coal India and Tata Consultancy Services closed with modest gains.
Besides a number of large cap stocks, scores of midcap and smallcap stocks ended lower on selling pressure. The market breadth was very weak. Out of 2987 stocks traded on BSE, 1926 stocks moved up. 942 stocks declined and 119 stocks ended flat.