The Sensex and the Nifty50 made a gap-down opening on Tuesday amid weakness across global markets. Investors awaited more of corporate earnings from India Inc for domestic cues.
Indian equity benchmarks began Tuesday's session in the red, halting a two-day winning streak, amid weakness across global markets. Nervousness persisted among investors globally about steep hikes in COVID-era interest rates and their impact on economic growth. Back home, investors awaited more of corporate earnings due this week for cues.
The Sensex fell 288.3 points or 0.5 percent to hit 54,232.8 at the weakest level of the day in early deals, and the Nifty50 slid to as low as 16,187.1, down 91.5 points or 0.6 percent from its previous close.
A total of 45 stocks in the Nifty50 basket began the day below the flatline. Infosys, IndusInd, HCL Tech, Asian Paints and TCS were the top laggards on the 50-strong index.
Cipla, Tata Motors, Reliance, JSW Steel and Axis Bank — down around one percent each at the open — were also among the worst hit blue-chip stocks.
On the other hand, Bharti Airtel, ONGC and UltraTech — up between 0.2 percent and 1.8 percent — were among the top gainers.
Hindustan Unilever shares fell as much as one percent as investors awaited the company's quarterly financial results due later in the day.
Ambuja Cements, ICICI Lombard General, HDFC Life and Rallis will also post their earnings during the day.
"Selling by foreign portfolio investors, which has been a major drag on the market since October 2021, is showing a marginally different trend. Even though they continue to be net sellers, they bought on three days this month. This means some of them are seeing value in some segments," said VK Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services.
Foreign portfolio investors emerged net purchasers of Indian shares on July 5, July 14 and July 18, even as they remain net sellers for the month — which could be a 10th straight month of outflows.
So far in July, they have offloaded shares worth Rs 10,303.1 crore, whereas domestic institutional investors have made net purchases of Rs 8,211.4 crore, according to provisional exchange data.
Sharp corrections in IT stocks have made their valuations attractive whereas high quality financials, whose values were depressed by sustained FPI selling, have bounced back on improving fundamentals, Vijayakumar added.
Overall market breadth remained in favour of the bulls in the first few minutes of the session, as 1,987 stocks rose and 992 fell on BSE.
Equities in other Asian markets were largely in the red on Tuesday tracking weakness on Wall Street overnight. MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.7 percent at the last count. Japan's Nikkei was up 0.7 percent, but China's Shanghai Composite down 0.1 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng down one percent.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.3 percent, a day after the three main US indices finished lower dragged by banking and Apple shares.