The Nifty shed 118 points to close at 10,792.50, while the 30-share BSE Sensex plunged 500 points intra-day, eventually settling 363 points lower to 35,891.
The equity market ended Wednesday's session with sharp losses as both benchmark indexes, the Sensex and Nifty50, declined by over a percent. Major auto names like M&M, Maruti Suzuki and Eicher Motors along with HDFC dragged the benchmark 50-share NSE index below 200-day moving average. The Nifty shed 118 points to close at 10,792.50, while the 30-share BSE Sensex plunged 500 points intra-day, eventually settling 363 points lower to 35,891.
Among broader market indices, the Nifty MidCap fell 217 points to settle at 17,677, while the Nifty Bank slipped 218 points to 27,175. IT and pharma shares batted for the bulls in the volatile session, gaining on the back of depreciation in rupee against the US dollar. Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys supported indexes as the home currency slipped from its 5-month high to trade above 70 per US Dollar.
The muted auto sales prompted Hero MotoCorp chairman Pawan Munjal urging for a reduction in the goods and services tax (GST) rate on two-wheelers from the existing 28 percent to be cut to 18 percent.
“Given that two-wheelers provide basic mobility to the masses, there is an urgent need to reduce the GST rate on two-wheelers from the 28% bracket of ‘luxury goods’ to that of 18% for mass usage items. This will provide the much-needed relief to millions of two-wheeler customers across the country, as well as the entire value chain dependent on the sector. It is absolutely imperative to ensure growth in the auto sector to create and sustain inclusive economic growth,” Munjal told CNBCTV18 while speaking on his company’s performance in the December quarter results.
In the derivatives space, the Nifty Put option of 10,700 added around 2 lakh shares in the open interest with premium surging 53 percent while Nifty Call option of 10,800 added more than 2 lakh shares with premium slipping nearly 28 percent. The Nifty January Futures closed with a premium of 34 points against a premium of 50 points on Tuesday.
Asian shares were mostly lower on the first trading day of 2019, on the back of a turbulent 2018 that saw most major global stock exchanges end the year with significant losses.
South Korea's Kospi slipped 1.52 percent to close at 2,010.00, despite shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics and chip-maker SK Hynix gaining 0.13 percent and 0.17 percent, respectively.
The ASX 200 in Australia ended its trading day lower by 1.57 percent at 5,557.80. The heavily-weighted financial sub-index fell 2.01 percent as shares of the so-called Big Four banks Down Under declined.
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group dropped 2.45 percent, Commonwealth Bank of Australia slipped 1.96 percent, Westpac declined by 2.24 percent and National Australia Bank shed 1.83 percent.
The Japanese stock markets were closed for a public holiday on Wednesday.
Chinese shares slipped on the day. The Shanghai composite fell 1.15 percent to close at 2,465.29 while the Shenzhen composite finished 0.91 percent lower at about 1,256.39 and the Shenzhen component lost 1.25 percent to end its trading day at around 7,149.27.
The moves came after a private survey showed manufacturing activity in China contracted for the first time in 19 months in December. The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' index (PMI), fell to 49.7 from 50.2 in November — its first contraction since May 2017.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell around 3 percent, as of its final hour of trading, with shares of Chinese tech heavyweight Tencent declining approximately 2.4 percent.