Indian shares remained under pressure for a third straight day as the benchmark BSE Sensex tumbled by 174 points to close at over three-week low of 25,406.33 on foreign fund outflows and weakness in global markets.
Global sentiment, already rattled by an diplomatic row between Iran and Saudi Arabia as well as concerns over China’s economy, took a further hit after North Korea said it carried out a hydrogen bomb test.
Meanwhile, a monthly PMI survey showing that India’s services sector activity touched a ten-month high in December driven by a significant rise in new business orders failed to cheer the market mood.
Resuming higher at 25,628.23, the Sensex touched the day’s high of 25,632.57 on the back of spurt in RIL and a few other blue-chip stocks.
However, the index later slipped into the negative zone and touched a low of 25,357.70 before ending at 25,406.33, a fall of 174.01 points or 0.68 per cent. This is the lowest closing since December 15 when it had closed at 25,320.44.
The NSE Nifty remained under pressure and dropped 43.65 points or 0.56 per cent to close the day at 7,741.00.
From the Sensex kitty, ITC was the worst-hit, down 2.96 per cent followed by ICICI Bank at 2.59 per cent.
Others losers included Tata Motors, M&M, Maruti Suzuki, Adani Ports, Asian Paints, ONGC, Hero MotoCorp, Lupin, L&T, Sun Pharma, Axix Bank and HUL.
Metal sector stocks including Tata Steel, Vedanta Ltd and Hindalco too were at the receiving end after base metals retreated in global market.
Out of the 30-Sensex constituents, 25 ended lower.
Bucking the trend, RIL gained the most by surging 2.67 per cent while Cipla gained 1.40 per cent. TCS, Coal India and HDFC Bank also rose by up to 1.75 per cent.
In the secondary market, shares of Narayana Hrudayalaya today got listed and ended at Rs 336.70 with a premium of 34.68 per cent over its issue price of Rs 250.
Sectorwise, the BSE FMCG index suffered the most by falling 1.57 per cent, followed by metal 1.48 per cent, capital goods 1.32 per cent, auto 1.24 per cent, realty 0.85 per cent and banking 0.81 per cent.
The broader markets also performed weak with the BSE small-cap index ending 0.42 per down while the mid-cap fall 0.29 per cent.
Globally, other Asian markets fell but Chinese markets rallied after two straight days of losses. Meanwhile, European markets were also down in their early trade as investor assessed the global growth outlook.