Sensex, Nifty under pressure; PSU stocks lower, metals shine

Equity benchmarks remained under pressure amid volatility in noon trade as investors remained on sidelines ahead of last batch of corporate earnings this week and assemble elections of five states that will end by March 8.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was down 68.85 points at 28265.40 and the 50-share NSE Nifty fell 22.70 points to 8770.85.

The broader markets underperformed benchmarks, with the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices falling 0.8 percent each on weak breadth. About two shares declined for every share rising on the exchange.

PSU stocks were under pressure today, with Nifty CPSE down 1.5 percent and PSU Bank down 3 percent.

Bank of Baroda tanked more than 8 percent on asset quality concerns despite management assured that slippages will be contained going forward.

Idea Cellular was down 3 percent post Q3 earning disappointment and added negative was lack of commentary on merger with Vodafone.

SRF lost 10.5 percent on the back of lacklustre earnings and Indo Count shed 7 percent owing to operational weakness in Q3.

Vedanta and Hindalco (ahead of Q3 earnings) gained 2-3 percent as base metals extended gains. Copper prices surged to 2-year high and iron ore futures were at two and a half year high. A CNBC-TV18 poll expects Hindalco to post strong earnings on a low base.

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