The S&P BSE Sensex fell 588.72 points (1.24 per cent) to 46,821.21 during the opening trade while the Nifty 50 declined 173.30 points (1.24 per cent) to hit an intraday low of 13,794.20.

The frontline equity indices on the BSE and National Stock Exchange (NSE) opened over 1 per cent lower on Thursday ahead of the expiry of January-series futures and options (F&O) contracts later today and weakness in the broader Asian markets.

The S&P BSE Sensex fell 588.72 points (1.24 per cent) to 46,821.21 during the opening trade while the Nifty 50 declined 173.30 points (1.24 per cent) to hit an intraday low of 13,794.20.

On Wednesday, the BSE benchmark had fallen 937.66 points (1.94 per cent) to end at 47,409.93 and the broader Nifty slipped 271.40 points (1.91 per cent) to settle below the 14,000-mark at 13,967.50.

HDFC Bank, Hindustan Unilever (HUL), Kotak Mahindra Bank and Infosys were the top contributors to Sensex’s fall in the early trade.

According to traders, recent foreign fund outflows from the domestic capital markets also had an impact on investor sentiment.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) remained net sellers in the capital market as they offloaded shares worth Rs 1,688.22 crore on a net basis on Wednesday, according to provisional exchange data.

Among sectoral indices on the NSE, the Nifty PSU Bank was down around 2 per cent weighed by the shares of Bank of Baroda, Punjab National Bank and Canara Bank. The Nifty Financial Services index too was trading over 1 per cent lower dragged by HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Piramal Enterprises.

Global market

Asian shares slid on Thursday while the safe-haven dollar rallied as a sudden sell-off on Wall Street and delays with coronavirus vaccines served as an excuse to book profits on recent hefty gains.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan skidded 1.8 per cent, with valuations looking stretched given the index had risen more than 6 per cent just this month.

Japan’s Nikkei fell 1.3 per cent, its sharpest drop since October, and Chinese blue chips lost 2.4 per cent as liquidity tightened before the Lunar New Year holidays.

South Korea eased 1.7 per cent led by losses in Samsung after it reported earnings.

Even the tech darlings were not immune with Facebook down despite reporting earnings well above expectations. Apple Inc also handily beat forecasts, yet its shares lost 3 per cent after the bell.

There was a hint of resilience as US stock futures pared steep early losses, leaving Eminis for the S&P 500 off 0.2 per cent and NASDAQ futures 0.3 per cent. EUROSTOXX 50 futures dipped 0.3 per cent and FTSE futures 0.7 per cent.

–with inputs from PTI and Reuters

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