Benchmark indices Sensex and Nifty gave up initial gains to close lower for a fourth straight session on Thursday due to sell-off in IT and banking shares amid weak global equities.

Marked with volatility, the BSE Sensex settled 98 points or 0.18 per cent lower at 53,416.15. During the day, it hit a high of 53,861.28 and a low of 53,163.77. The NSE Nifty also slipped 28 points or 0.18 per cent to settle at 15,938.65.

Top losers

Axis Bank, HCL Technologies, State Bank of India, Tech Mahindra, TCS, Wipro, UltraTech Cement and ITC were the major losers among the Sensex group, while Sun Pharma, Dr Reddy’s Lab, Maruti Suzuki India, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Titan and Reliance Industries gained.

Having sold on Wednesday, foreign portfolio investors turned net buyers on Thursday. According to exchanges’ provisional data, FPI were buyers to the tune of ₹309.06 crore even as domestic institutions turned net sellers by ₹556.40 crore. India VIX, the fear gauge, also declined, sending some positive signals. The index declined 0.97 per cent to 18.34.

Oil & Gas stocks gain

Reports that the government may review the windfall tax on petrol and diesel exports after a sharp decline in crude oil prices, lifted oil and gas stocks. Reliance Industries rose by 0.83 per cent while ONGC moved up 2.17 per cent

Shrikant Chouhan, Head of Equity Research (Retail), Kotak Securities Ltd, said: “Market is simply following herd mentality as most of the global indices exhibited weakness, prompting domestic investors to further prune their holdings in equities. Led by a steep fall in IT stocks, metals and select banking counters, key benchmarks ended weak in yet another fragile trading session. Investors offloaded their holdings in frontline technology stocks on worries that slowdown in western & the US could squeeze margins of domestic IT companies.”

Broader markets too closed lower. While the BSE Smallcap declined 0.56 per cent, the BSE Midcap edged down 0.40 per cent.

Among BSE sectoral indices, IT fell by 1.44 per cent, and teck by 1.14 per cent while basic materials (-0.71 per cent), telecom (-0.63 per cent), metal (-0.48 per cent) and bank (-0.43 per cent) were the major laggards.

On the other hand, BSE Energy, Healthcare, Consumer Durables, Oil & Gas and Power indices closed higher.

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