The Indian equity benchmarks came off intraday low levels to close on a flat note as gains in metal, FMCG and auto shares were offset with losses in banking and financial services shares. The Sensex fell as much as 754 points and Nifty 50 index touched an intraday low of 14,416. Growing calls, including from an industry body, to impose curbs at the national level to rein in the COVID-19 spread dampened investor sentiment, analysts said.
The Sensex ended 64 points lower at 48,719 and Nifty 50 index advanced 3 points to close at 14,634.
A leading industry body on Sunday urged authorities to take the “strongest national steps” and to curtail economic activity to save lives, as the coronavirus continued to sweep the nation and overwhelm its healthcare systems.
Six of 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended lower led by Nifty Private Bank index’s over 1 per cent fall. Nifty Bank, PSU Bank, Realty and Media sector gauges also ended lower.
On the other hand, metal index climbed over 2 per cent. FMCG, auto and pharma stocks witnessed buying interest.
Mid- and small-cap shares outperformed their larger peers as Nifty Midcap 100 index rose 0.3 per cent while Nifty Smallcap 100 index climbed 1 per cent.
SBI Life was top gainer in the Nifty 50 basket of shares, the stock rose 5 per cent to close at Rs 979 after its New Business Premium came in at Rs 20,620 crore registering growth of 24 per cent with private market share of 21.9 per cent. Bharti Airtel, Adani Ports, Tata Steel, Maruti Suzuki, Asian Paints, Hindustan Unilever, NTPC, UPL and Hindalco also rose between 1.5-4.5 per cent.
On the flipside, Reliance Industries fell 2 per cent to close at Rs 1,956 after its profit in March quarter missed analyst estimates.
Titan, IndusInd Bank, Bharat Petroleum, Wipro, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Hero MotoCorp, Eicher Motors, ITC and Coal India were among the losers.
The overall market breadth was positive as 1,823 shares ended higher while 1,218 closed lower on the BSE.