BSE Sensex failed to hold on to the 50,000-mark as the 30-share equity benchmark index closed on Thursday at 49,624.76, down 167.36 points below the previous closing mark. The sharp dip in the index came on the back of profit booking by investors and some panic selling, following reports of a fire incident at the Pune facility of coronavirus vaccine-maker Serum Institute of India.

The broader 50-share NSE Nifty also shed 54.35 points (0.37%), to close at 14,590.35.

Earlier in the day, Sensex went past the 50,000-mark for the first time ever, as global markets surged after the formal inauguration of United States President Joe Biden on Wednesday. Kamala Harris was also sworn in on Wednesday as the first woman Asian African American Vice President of the US.

Sensex hit an all-time high of 50,184.01 in Thursday’s intra-day trading, after gaining more than 300 points to open above the 50,000-mark.

“The smooth transition in the US and President Biden’s healing speech lifted the US markets to record highs,” VK Vijayakumar, the chief investment strategist at Geojit Financial Services told Mint. “This feel-good factor is likely to spread to other markets too.”

However, in afternoon trade, investors rushed to book profits at record high levels. “It is an expiry day [for weekly derivatives] and we are seeing some profit-booking at these levels,” Rahul Sharma, Market Strategist and head of research at Equity99 Markets, told Reuters. “Sensex has hit the 50,000 level...People are just cautious right now.”

A fire at the Pune facility of Serum Institute of India also took a toll on market sentiments, triggering a sell-off spell. However, the markets pared some losses towards the end of Thursday’ session.

All sectors finished in the red, as the Nifty PSU Bank and Nifty Metal sub-indices recorded the sharpest losses, at 3.27% and 2.18%, respectively. Among stocks, Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Auto, Reliance Industries and ICICI Bank were among the top gainers. On the other hand, ONGC, Bharti Airtel and State Bank of India lost the most.

Asian markets also showed rises after tracking American shares except for Hong Kong’s Hang Seng. Around 1.48 pm Indian Standard Time, Japan’s Nikkei 225 traded at 28,756.86 points, or 0.82%, higher than the previous close. Hang Seng closed at 29,937.42 points, or 0.08%, lower. Taiwan’s TSEC 50 Index reached 16,153.77 points, or 2.20%, higher.

Also read:

2020 was a rollercoaster year for Indian stock markets. 2021 may not be very different