Indian equity benchmarks suffered sharp losses on Friday tracking a sell-off across global markets, as central banks' hawkish stance amid concerns over the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spooked investors globally. Barring IT stocks, which rose following Accenture's strong quarterly show, all sectors tumbled, with financial, automobile, oil & gas and metal stocks being the worst hit.
Both headline indices tumbled 1.5 percent to close at their lowest levels since December 6. The Sensex ended 889.4 points lower at 57,011.7 and the broader Nifty50 benchmark settled at 16,985.2, down 263.2 points from its previous close.
IndusInd Bank, Tata Motors, ONGC, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Hindustan Unilever, Titan and Grasim, closing between 3.2 percent and 4.6 percent lower, were the worst hit among the 45 laggards in the Nifty50 pack.
On the other hand, Wipro, Infosys, HCL Tech, Power Grid and Sun Pharma, up between 0.7 percent and 4.7 percent, were the five gainers.
The Bank of England became the first central bank of an advanced economy to hike key interest rates after the Federal Reserve announcedthree increases in 2022.
"Weak global sentiments inundated domestic indices as the markets are digesting the hawkish stance of major international central banks amid surging Omicron cases," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.
Besides, overheated valuations and continuous selling by foreign institutional investors kept investors on the back foot. FIIs have dumped Indian shares worth a net Rs 12,986 crore ($1.7 billion) so far in December, according to provisional exchange data.
The 16,900-16,700 zone is critical for the Nifty, said Ajit Mishra, VP-Research at Religare Broking. "Participants should align their positions accordingly and prefer hedged bets," he said.
Barring the Nifty IT, all of NSE's sectoral gauges finished the day deep in the red.
The Nifty Bank, Private Bank and PSU Bank gauges fell 3-4 percent. The Nifty Media was the worst hit sectoral index, down 4.7 percent for the day. The Nifty Oil & Gas dropped 2.5 percent.
On the other hand, the Nifty IT index gained 1.4 percent. IT shares rose after Accenture reported a strong set of quarterly earnings and upgraded its guidance.
Here's how NSE's sectoral indices fared:
|Nifty Consumer Durables||-2.3|
|Nifty Financial Services||-2.5|
|Nifty Oil & Gas||-2.5|
|Nifty Private Bank||-2.7|
Broader indices also took a hit amid a market-wide sell-off. The Nifty Midcap 100 and Smallcap 100 indices ended around 2.5 percent lower each. BHEL, Zee, Indiabulls Housing and Strides Shasun, up around 7-8 percent each, were among the top gainers in the broader indices. Emami, Mphasis, Bajaj Electricals and Graphite, up around 2-3 percent each, were among the top losers.
RateGain Travel Technologies bore the brunt of the overall weakness in the market, ending its listing day at Rs 340.5 apiece on BSE, a discount of 19.9 percent to its issue price.
Globally, European markets plummeted as investors' risk appetite took a beating. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was down 0.6 percent at the last count. S&P 500 futures were down 0.2 percent, suggesting a negative opening ahead on Wall Street.