Nifty drops and the Sensex drops more than 400 points as volatility rises

The S&P BSE Sensex fell by 454.69 points, or 0.62%, ending at 72,488.99, while the NSE Nifty50 dropped by 169.1 points, or 0.76%, closing at 21,978.8 on Thursday. This marked the fourth consecutive session of decline for the benchmark stock market indices, driven by heightened volatility as investors grew nervous ahead of key Q4 earnings.

Despite initially rising by as much as 0.8%, both the Sensex and Nifty witnessed a sharp decline in the final two hours of trade. Over the past four trading sessions, the benchmark indices experienced a drop of more than 3%, representing their longest losing streak in nearly six months.

Analysts suggested that volatility is likely to remain elevated due to factors such as the ongoing earnings season and the upcoming general elections, as well as concerns surrounding the US interest rate outlook.

Among the top gainers on the Nifty50 were Bharti Airtel, Power Grid, Bajaj Auto, Hindalco, and Infosys. Conversely, the top losers included Apollo Hospitals, Nestle India, Titan, ONGC, and Axis Bank.

Nestle India shares fell by 3.28% following a study alleging the addition of sugar to baby food sold in low-income countries. In contrast, Bharti Airtel shares surged over 4% to hit a record high after multiple block deals at a premium over its last close. Power Grid shares also gained more than 2% after Goldman Sachs assigned a 'buy' rating on the stock.

Ahead of their quarterly results, shares of Infosys and Bajaj Auto rose, contributing to the market's mixed performance.

Prashanth Tapse, Senior VP (Research) at Mehta Equities Ltd, highlighted the market's frenzied selling towards the closing stages, attributing it to concerns over fading rate cut hopes and persisting FII fund exodus from local stocks. He noted that while the Indian economy has shown resilience amid global worries, persistent concerns such as stubborn inflation, rising geopolitical tensions, and delays in interest rate cuts have fueled profit-taking in recent weeks.

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