Equity benchmark Sensex tumbled over 300 points in early trade on Monday, tracking losses in index majors Infosys, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank amid concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant in the country and weak cues from global markets.
The 30-share index was trading 311.11 points or 0.54 per cent lower at 57,385.35 in initial deals. Similarly, the Nifty fell 81.70 points or 0.48 per cent to 17,115.
IndusInd Bank was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding over 2 per cent, followed by Maruti, Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Finserv, Infosys and NTPC.
Selling pressure was broad-based as twelve of 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower led by the Nifty Auto index's over 1 per cent decline. Nifty Bank, Financial Services, IT, Pharma, PSU Bank Private Bank and Oil & Gas indices also fell between 0.5-1 per cent, reported Reuters.
On the other hand, Tata Steel, L&T, HUL, HDFC and UltraTech Cement were among the gainers.
Also, real estate, consumer durables and metal shares were witnessing buying interest. Mid- and small-cap shares were also facing selling pressure as Nifty Midcap 100 index declined 0.32 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index fell 0.2 per cent, according to a repot in Reuters.
In the previous session, the 30-share equity benchmark ended 764.83 points or 1.31 per cent lower at 57,696.46, and Nifty tanked 204.95 points or 1.18 per cent to 17,196.70.
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net sellers in the capital market, as they sold shares worth Rs 3,356.17 crore on Friday, as per exchange data.
This week, the market direction is likely to be determined by two factors: one, news regarding the spread of the Omicron variant of the virus and two, the outcome of the monetary policy review on Friday, said VK Vijayakumar, the Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services.
“The latter is unlikely to be market-moving since MPC is likely to continue with the accommodative stance and status quo on policy rates. The market-moving factor will be the news regarding Omicron,” he noted.
Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Hong Kong and Tokyo were trading with losses in mid-session deals, while Shanghai and Seoul were positive.
Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude rose 1.99 per cent to $71.27 per barrel.
(With Additional Inputs from Outlook Business Bureau)