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Sensex Sheds 400 Points, Nifty Below 17,000 As Omicron Fears Intensify


New Delhi: The key frontline indices slipped into the red during early trade amid volatility and Omicron fear after opening higher on Friday morning following positive global cues.

The BSE Sensex was trading nearly 400 points down at 56,922 levels, while the Nifty 50 was testing the 17,000 mark.

The broader indices were also in the red zone. The BSE MidCap and SmallCap indices fell by up to 0.9 and 0.6 per cent, respectively.

The major losers were banking stocks that were down 1-2 per cent on the NSE. Gains in IT also trimmed with the index only 0.4 per cent higher.

The indices started on a muted note on Friday. Among sectoral indices, IT bucked the overall trend and was the only major gainer, up 1 per cent. All other indices remained in the red zone.

The volatility index was also higher by 2 per cent at around 16 levels, indicating weak investor sentiment.

Among individual stocks, HCL Technology was the sole gainer on the Sensex, up over 2 per cent. As per reports, the promoters of the company will buy 4.5 million shares of the firm via open market. Other gainers also included IT majors Wipro, Infosys and TCS.

Banking and financial stocks were largely in the red zone with IndusInd Bank, SBI, Kotak Bank, and Axis down 1 per cent each on the Nifty50.

L&T Finance Holdings was trading over 4 per cent lower on the BSE. The company on Thursday announced selling L&T Investment Management (LTIM) to HSBC Asset Management (India) for $425 million. LTIM is the investment manager of the mutual fund business of L&T.

According to analysts, domestic equities are following the broader positive trend in global markets. However, indices are expected to trade on a volatile note as investors would prefer booking profits at higher levels.

Meanwhile, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net sellers in the capital market, as they sold shares worth Rs 271.59 crore on Thursday, according to stock exchange data.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul were trading with gains in mid-session deals, while Shanghai was in the red.

Stock exchanges in the US ended on a positive note in the overnight session.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude fell 0.10 per cent to $76.52 per barrel.


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