The benchmark Sensex on Wednesday fell over 336 points amid intense selling towards the fag-end mainly in FMCG, financial and IT stocks as lacklustre corporate results, concerns over US-China trade tiff further and IL&FS defaults jolted the investors’ sentiment. However, the rupee snapped its three-day losing streak and settled higher by 11 paise at 71.33 against the US dollar on increased selling of the dollar by exporters and banks.
The 30-share BSE Sensex opened on a firm note at 36,494.12 and advanced to a high of 36,521.47. However, it succumbed to a late-session sell-off and ended at 36,108.47, down by 336.17 points, or 0.92 per cent. It had lost 134.32 points in the previous session. The NSE Nifty too tumbled 91.25 points, or 0.84 per cent, to close at 10,831.50 after moving between 10,811.95 and 10,944.75.
ITC emerged as the biggest loser with its shares plunging 4.16 per cent after the company’s quarterly results failed to enthuse investors. ITC reported a 3.84 per cent increase in standalone net profit at Rs 3,209.07 crore for the third quarter ended December 2018. PowerGrid, Infosys, Mahindra and Mahindra and NTPC declined by 1.85 per cent. The continuing saga of IL&FS defaults also dampened the sentiment. Rating firm ICRA had placed six mutual fund schemes under rating watch with negative implications in the wake of their exposure in IL&FS instruments.
The market remained range-bound for the better part of the session as investors kept their exposure at a low level due to weak global cues. Towards the fag-end, the selling pressure gathered momentum after European markets opened in the negative zone.
Global shares traded on a mixed note with a negative bias due to concerns over the state of ongoing US-China trade negotiations, amid reports that the White House has cancelled a trade planning meeting with Beijing this week.