Sensex tumbles 770 points ; Nifty tests 17,500

Equity benchmark Sensex slumped 770 points to close below the 59,000-mark on Thursday as selling pressure intensified towards the fag-end amid profit-booking in IT and finance counters. Relentless foreign capital outflows also weighed on sentiment, traders said.

The 30-share BSE index ended 770.31 points or 1.29 per cent lower at 58,788.02. Similarly, the NSE Nifty plunged 219.80 points or 1.24 per cent to 17,560.20. HDFC was the top laggard in the Sensex pack, shedding over 3 per cent, followed by Infosys, L&T, Kotak Bank, Bajaj Finserv and Tech Mahindra. On the other hand, ITC, Maruti, Titan, SBI, and Asian Paints were the gainers.

Of the Sensex constituents, 25 shares closed lower while 5 were in the green. In other Asian markets, Tokyo closed in the red, while Seoul was positive. Several Asian markets, including China and Hong Kong, were shut for the Lunar New Year holidays.

Stock exchanges in Europe were trading on a mixed note in mid-session deals. International oil benchmark Brent crude slipped 0.65 per cent to USD 88.89 per barrel.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net sellers in the capital market, offloading shares worth Rs 183.60 crore on Wednesday, according to stock exchange data.

India’s services sector activity moderated further in January as new business rose at a noticeably slower rate amid the escalation of the pandemic, reintroduction of restrictions and inflationary pressures, a monthly survey said on Thursday.

The seasonally adjusted India Services Business Activity Index fell to 51.5 in January, down from 55.5 in December, pointing to the slowest rate of expansion in the current six-month sequence of growth.