New Delhi: The Indian equity indices fell sharply on Wednesday dragged by automobile and banking stocks amid weak global cues. Worries about the impact of aggressive sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine kept investors on the edge. The benchmark BSE Sensex slumped 778 points or 1.38 per cent to close at 55,469; while the broader NSE Nifty moved 188 points or 1.12 per cent lower to settle at 16,606.
Sentiments also turned bleak as government data showed economic growth slowed to 5.4 per cent in the October-December quarter against an 8.5 per cent growth in the preceding quarter. A sharp spike in crude oil prices further added to the pressure. Brent crude futures traded above $110, a level last seen in July 2014.
Mid- and small-cap shares finished on a mixed note as Nifty Midcap 100 index edged 0.02 per cent lower and small-cap shares rose 0.50 per cent.
Most of the sector gauges — compiled by the National Stock Exchange — were trading in the red. Nifty Auto and Nifty Bank underperformed the index by falling as much as 2.96 per cent and 2.30 per cent, respectively. However, Nifty Metal surged as much as 4.07 per cent.
On the stock-specific front, Maruti Sukuzi India was the top Nifty loser as the stock cracked 6 per cent to Rs 7,815.15. Dr Reddy’s, Bajaj Auto, Asian Paints and Hero MotoCorp were also among the laggards.
On BSE, the overall market breadth stood slightly positive as 1,709 shares advanced while 1,633 declined.
On the 30-share BSE index, Maruti, Dr Reddy’s, Asian Paints, ICICI Bank, HDFC twins (HDFC and HDFC Bank), Sun Pharma, Bajaj Finance and Kotak Mahindra Bank were among the top losers.
In contrast, Tata Steel, Titan, Reliance Industries, Axis Bank, Nestle India, PowerGrid and Bajaj Finserv finished in the green.
The domestic indices were closed on Tuesday due to Mahashivratri.