Mumbai, August 13: Equity benchmarks Thursday ended with marginal losses for the second straight day as uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic kept investors wary amid lack of directional cues.
After opening on a positive note, the BSE Sensex pared all gains to end 59.14 points or 0.15 per cent lower at 38,310.49.
The NSE Nifty slipped 7.95 points or 0.07 per cent to finish at 11,300.45 level.
Bharti Airtel shed 2.35 per cent as the top laggard among the Sensex constituents, followed by Sun Pharma, ITC, SBI, Axis Bank, HDFC, M&M and HDFC Bank.
Whereas L&T, Titan, HCL Tech, NTPC and UltraTech Cement were among gainers, rallying up to 4.31 per cent.
According to traders, lack of directional cues from global markets amid spiking COVID-19 cases kept investors on the edge.
"Uncertainty in global markets has emerged due to the doubtful US stimulus package and impact of the US-China trade meeting over the weekend.
"Domestic stock valuation concerns and continuing high rate of virus infections impacted the Indian markets. Markets seem to be in a wait and watch mode, and investors are advised to tread cautiously and accumulate stocks," said Vinod Nair, Head (Research), Geojit Financial Services.
BSE telecom, healthcare, bankex, teck, finance and energy indices ended up to 1.49 per cent lower, while capital goods, industrials, consumer durables and metal rose up to 3.81 per cent.
Broader BSE mid-cap and small-cap indices outperformed the benchmarks, rallying up to 1.59 per cent.
Meanwhile, global equities were mixed ahead of the crucial US-China trade talks. Bourses in Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul ended with gains, while Hong Kong closed in the red. Stock exchanges in Europe were trading on a negative note in early deals.
Further, global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.20 per cent lower at US dollar 45.34 per barrel.
On the currency front, the rupee settled on a flat note, edging just one paisa lower to 74.84 against the US dollar.
With a record single-day increase of 66,999 cases, India's COVID-19 tally mounted to 23,96,637 on Thursday, while the number of patients who have recovered from the disease surged to 16,95,982, pushing the recovery rate to 70.77 per cent in the country.
The death toll due to COVID-19 climbed to 47,033 with 942 people succumbing to the disease in the last 24 hours, Union Health Ministry data showed.