Benchmark indices Sensex and Nifty closed in the red for a second session in a row on Monday, with oil and gas counters coming under immense selling pressure due to ongoing tensions between the US and Iran.
In a volatile session, the BSE gauge settled 71.53 points, or 0.18 per cent, lower at 39,122.96. The index hit an intra-day low of 39,021.70 and a high of 39,300.02.
Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty dropped 24.45 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 11,699.65. During the day, the index touched a low of 11,670.20 and a high of 11,754.
Other than oil and gas stocks, metal and auto sector stocks took the beating as uncertainty over any progress in US-China trade talks kept investors edgy.
ONGC was the top loser in the Sensex pack, ending 3.48 per cent lower.
Tata Steel, Vedanta, Bajaj Auto, TechM, RIL, Hero MotoCorp, Kotak Bank, Axis Bank and Infosys too fell up to 2.33 per cent.
On the other hand, Yes Bank, M&M, TCS, SBI, IndusInd Bank, Maruti and ITC rose up to 2.19 per cent.
Sectorally, BSE oil and gas, metal, energy, realty, basic materials, utilities and telecom indices settled up to 1.59 per cent lower.
Broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices too fell up to 0.32 per cent.
On the currency front, the Indian rupee appreciated by 23 paise to close at 69.35 against the US dollar on Monday.
The stand-off between the US and Iran has led to a massive spike in oil prices in the past few days.
Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.16 per cent to USD 64.55 per barrel.
The US on Monday was due to tighten sanctions on Iran as the two countries traded barbs in a tense standoff sparked by Washington’s withdrawal from a nuclear deal.
Investors are keeping eyes on other factors like the outcome of the G-20 bilateral and trilateral meetings, monsoon progress and upcoming Union Budget for future market direction, analysts said.
On the performance of Indian equities, Sunil Sharma, Chief Investment Officer, Sanctum Wealth Management, said, “Considering escalating tensions in the Middle East, that’s a fairly good showing. Attempts to open dialogue and no new escalation in the US-Iran stand-off served to calm investor nerves. Investors are betting that the US would not have a strong appetite for Iraq 2.0 on the eve of an election campaign in the US and a slowing economy.”
Meanwhile, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul ended on a positive note. European markets were trading in the red in early deals.