Sensex and Nifty took a breather in today's session after Wednesday's sharp Budget rally wherein the Sensex touched its highest level in nearly four months while Nifty moved above 8,700. The stock markets cheered Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's fourth Budget which did not tinker with long term or short term capital gains arising out of sale of shares and securities. Market participants welcomed record investment of Rs. 3.96 lakh crore by the government on building infrastructure and fiscal deficit target of 3.2 per cent of gross domestic product for financial year 2017-18.
Meanwhile, in today's session traders booked profits after a sharp rally in Wednesday's session, said analysts. As of 12:39 p.m., the Sensex was down 19 points at 28,122 and Nifty was at 8,703, down 13 points.
Auto stocks dropped on Thursday after reporting lower January sales, with the Nifty auto index falling as much as 1.17 per cent.
Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd and Tata Motors Ltd were down about 2 per cent each, among the top percentage losers on the NSE index.
From the Nifty basket of shares, 39 were trading lower while on 12 were advancing.
Hindalco was the top Nifty loser, down 3.2 per cent at Rs. 192. HDFC, HDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank, Yes Bank, Reliance Industries, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Larsen & Toubro were also among the laggards.
On the other hand, ITC Ltd rallied as much as 3.8 per cent to a record high after the budget proposed a lower-than-expected increase in excise duty on some cigarette categories.
Idea Cellular, BPCL, ONGC, NTPC, Axis Bank and Adani Ports were also among the losers.
The broader markets were trading on a muted note with mid-cap and small-cap indices minutely unchanged.