Sensex drops over 150 pts in early trade; Nifty below 14,850

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Mumbai, Apr 9 (PTI) Equity benchmark Sensex dropped over 150 points in early trade on Friday, tracking losses in index-heavyweights HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Reliance Industries amid largely negative cues from global markets.

The 30-share BSE index was trading 186.94 points or 0.38 per cent lower at 49,559.27.

Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty slipped 44.10 points or 0.30 per cent to 14,829.70.

Bajaj Finance was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding around 2 per cent, followed by Asian Paints, ICICI Bank, Kotak Bank, HDFC Bank and Reliance Industries.

On the other hand, HUL, Sun Pharma, ITC, ONGC, PowerGrid and SBI were among the gainers.

In the previous session, Sensex settled 84.45 points or 0.17 per cent higher at 49,746.21, and Nifty advanced 54.75 points or 0.37 per cent to 14,873.80.

Foreign institutional investors remained net buyers in the capital market as they purchased shares worth Rs 110.85 crore on Thursday, according to provisional exchange data.

'Surging COVID-19 cases have become an area of serious concern. Unless this second wave peaks soon and subsides, economic activity will be impacted and the market assumptions of above 10 per cent GDP growth and above 30 per cent earnings growth will be challenged,' said V K Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services.

This big uncertainty will weigh on market sentiments for some time, he added.

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

Top stock exchanges on Wall Street ended on a positive note in overnight trade.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.03 per cent lower at USD 63.18 per barrel. PTI ANS DRR DRR