Sensex Falls On North Korea Tensions; Pharma, Metal Shares Under Pressure

Indian shares fell on Friday, tracking Asian markets lower, as geopolitical tensions following another missile launch by North Korea dampened sentiment and as profit taking was seen in recent outperformers such as banks and pharma stocks.

Asian shares ex-Japan and U.S. stock futures dipped after Pyongyang fired a missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean on Friday, demonstrating the reclusive state’s defiance in the face of intensifying sanctions.

“The market sentiment is subdued following (North Korea’s) missile launch and also consolidation seems to be happening across sectors, including pharma and banks,” said Gaurang Shah, head investment strategist at Geojit Financial Services.
The broader NSE Nifty was down 0.33 percent at 10,052.75, while the benchmark BSE Sensex was 0.19 percent lower at 32,180.94 as of 1:50 pm.

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, which gained in the last three sessions, fell 1.65 percent and 1.94 percent, respectively.

The Nifty Pharma Index was down 1.19 percent, on track to break its three-day winning streak.

Private lender Axis Bank Ltd fell 0.90 percent after gaining more than 2 percent this month up to Thursday’s close.

The Nifty Bank Index was 0.36 percent lower, and was set to post its first loss this week.

State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd however rose as much as 4.4 percent, the top percentage gainer on the NSE index, and in line to snap a three-session losing run.

Shares of Max Financial Services Ltd surged as much as 4.8 percent after at least seven block deals took place on the BSE early in the session.