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Sensex, Nifty end marginally lower

Mumbai: Equity benchmarks ended with marginal losses for the second straight day on Thursday as uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic kept investors wary amid lack of directional cues.

After opening on a positive note, the BSE Sensex pared all gains to end 59.14 points or 0.15 per cent lower at 38,310.49.

The NSE Nifty slipped 7.95 points or 0.07 per cent to finish at 11,300.45.

Bharti Airtel was the top laggard among the Sensex constituents, shedding 2.35 per cent, followed by Sun Pharma, ITC, SBI, Axis Bank, HDFC, M&M and HDFC Bank.

On the other hand, L&T, Titan, HCL Tech, NTPC and UltraTech Cement were among the gainers, rallying up to 4.31 per cent.

According to traders, lack of directional cues from global markets amid spiking COVID-19 cases kept investors on the edge.

"Uncertainty in global markets has emerged due to the doubtful US stimulus package and impact of the US-China trade meeting over the weekend.

"Domestic stock valuation concerns and continuing high rate of virus infections impacted the Indian markets. Markets seem to be in a wait and watch mode, and investors are advised to tread cautiously and accumulate stocks," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.

BSE telecom, healthcare, bankex, teck, finance and energy indices ended up to 1.49 per cent lower, while capital goods, industrials, consumer durables and metal rose up to 3.81 per cent.

Broader BSE mid-cap and small-cap indices outperformed the benchmarks, rallying up to 1.59 per cent.

Global equities were mixed ahead of the crucial US-China trade talks.

Bourses in Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul ended with gains, while Hong Kong closed in the red.

Stock exchanges in Europe were trading on a negative note in early deals.

Global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.20 per cent lower at $45.34 per barrel.

On the currency front, the rupee settled on a flat note, edging just 1 paisa lower to 74.84 against the US dollar.

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