Sensex trades in red; Nifty hovers near 8,900; broader markets down over 1%

Benchmark indices pared early morning gains on likely profit booking to trade in red after they reached their 2-year highs supported by global cues after the Dow Jones index closed above 21,000 mark for the first time ever as investors were encouraged post President Donald Trump's first speech to Congress.  Back home, the rally was led by auto, metals, banking & financials and oil stocks.


During the early morning trade, the S&P BSE Sensex rose as much as 0.5% or 148 points to 29133 points, a level last seen on March 13, 2015. The broader Nifty50 rallied 0.5% or 44 points to 8,989, a level last seen on March 4, 2015.


At 3:02 pm, the S&P BSE Sensex was trading at 28,920, down 64 points, while the broader Nifty50 was ruling at 8,912, down 33 points.


The broader indices underperformed the frontline indices with BSE Midcap and BSE Smallcap indices falling over 1% each.


The BSE Auto index was the best performing sector, with Tata Motors rising over 3% after posting a 2% jump in February total sales.


Bajaj Auto also gained over 2% after auto sales data. Its total sales increased to 2.73 lakh units in February 2017 from 2.72 lakh units in year-ago month, driven by exports.


ICICI Bank rose over 1.6% after reports that global private equity firms including The Carlyle Group, Warburg Pincus Llc and Advent International have evinced interest in acquiring the 35% stake in ICICI Lombard General Insurance held by Canadian financial institution Fairfax Financial Holdings.


Shares of Railway-linked stocks such as Titagarh Wagon and Texmaco Rail soared up to 6% after the railway minister Suresh Prabhu presented Indian Railways Freight and Passenger Business Action Plan 2017-18, which railway officials are terming as "mini-budget".


Among losers, Wockhardt declined as much as 6.5%, after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning letter to the company's Morton Grove plant, which will withhold all FDA approvals until a resolution is made.


Realty index was the biggest sectoral laggard, down over 2% dragged by Sobha (down 4.7%), DLF (down 4.4%) and Indiabulls real estate (down 3.2%).

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