Strong gains in ONGC led to a very positive start for the indices, but they cracked later as most frontline stocks came under pressure. Other Asian markets are mostly positive in morning trades, helped by the gains in US indices last week and a modest correction in crude oil prices.
Sensex opened at 13696 and saw a high of 13726 before declining. The index is trading lower by 135 points at 13479 at 11.10 AM.
Nifty opened at 3888 and touched a high of 3922 in earli trades. The index is now trading lower by 43 points at 3846.
Zee Entertainment, the entity which would control the entertainment channels of the former Zee Tele after the de-merger process, has declined nearly 6 per cent from Friday's closing. The other two entities, which would control the news business and cable distribution, would be listed separately. (See: Zee Telefilms unveils share allotment plan on demerger and Zee Tele three-way demerger on 18 December, 2006)
Cement stocks have come under further pressure after last week's volatility. ACC is the biggest loser among index stocks, down more than 3.5 per cent, while Gujarat Ambuja has lost more than 2.5 per cent.
Banks have also come under renewed selling pressure. Both SBI and OBC are trading with losses of well over 3 per cent. HDFC is down nearly 2.5 per cent.
Among capital goods stocks, Suzlon and Siemens are down more than 2.5 per cent each.
HLL has opened very weak and is down more than 2.5 per cent.
IPCL is the other major loser, down 2.5 per cent.
There are only six gainers among Nifty stocks. ONGC soared more than 5 per cent on reports of a new gas discovery. The stock is now trading more than 3 per cent higher.
Ranbaxy has added more than 2.5 per cent on reports of investing more than Rs1,000 crore to set up medical schools.
SAIL is continuing the up trend from Friday and has added nearly 0.5 per cent.
Nalco, Grasim and Reliance Industries are the other gainers - all trading with marginal gains.
Mid-caps and small caps also started firm before collapsing. The NSE mid-cap index is now trading with losses of close to 1.4 per cent. BSE mid-cap index is trading with losses of nearly 1.25 per cent and the BSE small-cap index has lost close to 0.75 per cent. Market breadth on the NSE is highly negative with more than 3.5 stocks declining for every advancing stock.
Select mid-cap IT and IT education stocks are rallying today as well Educomp, Sonata and Teledata are the major gainers.
Flex Industries is locked in the 10 per cent upper circuit today as well. Yokogawa India has added 8.5 per cent after the company said its parent would buy out minority shareholders.
Global Vectra, Sadbhav Engineering, Texmaco and Hindustan Composites are among the major mid-cap gainers.
Uniphos, DCM, UTV, Softpro, GTC and IVRCL are the major mid-cap losers.