Indian equity benchmarks failed to stay in the green due to fag-end selling in auto and select financial stocks, as investor focus globally remained on geopolitical tensions on account of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Gains in consumer and PSU banking counters limited the downside in headline indices.
The 30-scrip Sensex index finsihed the day down 68.6 points or 0.1 percent at 57,232.1, retreating 501.3 from the strongest level of the session. The broader Nifty50 benchmark settled at 17,054.2, down 38.1 points or 0.2 percent from its previous close.
ONGC, Hero MotoCorp, NTPC, L&T and JSW Steel — finishing the day between 1.3 percent and 2.4 percent lower — were the worst hit among the 27 laggards in the Nifty50 pack. On the other hand, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Titan, IndusInd, Tata Consumer and Maruti Suzuki — rising between 0.8 percent and 2.2 percent — were the top blue-chip gainers.
Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, the HDFC twins and Larsen & Toubro were the biggest contributors to the fall in both headline indices.
“The impact of geopolitical uncertainties and soaring fuel costs will continue to keep global markets highly volatile,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.
Broader markets managed to stay positive at athe close, with the Nifty Midcap 100 index finishing the day up 0.6 percent. Its smallcap counterpart rose 1.2 percent.
Butterfly Gandhimathi Appliances shares finished the day with a gain of 0.3 percent, after hitting a 52-week high. Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals said it would acquire a controlling stake in Butterfly.