Sensex Falls Over 300 Points As Markets Retreat From Record Highs

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Domestic stock markets fell on Tuesday with benchmark indices retreating from all-time highs amid weakness across Asian equities, as concerns about increasing COVID-19 deaths and lockdowns overshadowed optimism about the rollout of coronavirus vaccinations. The S&P BSE Sensex index dropped by as many as 383.6 points — or 0.83 per cent — to 45,869.86 during the session, and the broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark slid to as low as 13,451.30 down 106.85 points — or 0.79 per cent — from its previous close.

  1. Weakness across sectors, led by banking, financial services and IT shares, dragged the markets lower. At 10:43 am, the Sensex traded 351.74 points, or 0.76 per cent, lower at 45,901.72, while the Nifty was down 95.85 points, or 0.71 per cent, at 13,462.30. 
  2. Tata Motors, HUL, ITC, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank, trading between 1.79 per cent and 2.28 per cent lower, were the worst hit among 37 laggards in the 50-scrip Nifty basket. On the other hand, Eicher Motors, Shree Cement, UltraTech Cement, HCL Tech and Wipro, up 0.76-2.48 per cent each, were the top gainers in the index.
  3. Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, Hindustan Unilever and ITC were the biggest drags on Sensex. 
  4. Both the indices had scaled all-time highs in 16 of the past 24 sessions, boosted by record inflows from foreign institutional investors and progress on COVID-19 vaccines globally.
  5. Official data released after market hours on Monday showed consumer inflation eased last month but still remained outside the Reserve Bank of India’s comfort zone, reinforcing analysts’ view that the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee may keep key rates on hold for now.
  6. Asian share markets moved lower, with MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 0.40 per cent at the last count, having hit a string of record highs last week.
  7. The E-Mini S&P 500 futures were up 0.10 per cent, indicating a positive start for US markets on Tuesday.
  8. On Monday, tighter COVID-19 restrictions were imposed on London as the government citing increased infection rates that may be partly linked to a new variant of the coronavirus.
  9. News of the vaccines has powered gains in the last few months, with the Asian benchmark up nearly 16 per cent so far this year, sitting just shy of a record struck last week.
  10. Last week, the United States authorised the emergency use of its first COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. The vaccine has already been authorised in a handful of countries including Britain and Canada.