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The Indian equity benchmarks declined on on Thursday ahead of weekly expiry of index futures and option contracts. The Sensex fell as much as 121 points and Nifty 50 index slipped below its important psychological level of 15,000.Stock markets struggled in Asia for traction on Thursday after a jittery session on Wall Street where cryptocurrencies crashed and a hint of tapering talk from the U.S. Federal Reserve drove selling in the bond market and lifted the safe-haven dollar.Benchmarks in South Korea and Japan were either side of flat in morning trade and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell about 0.8% to pull MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down by 0.2%.Back home, selling pressure was broad-based as nine of 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower led by the Nifty Metal index’s over 3.5 per cent decline. Nifty Realty, Pharma, PSU Bank, Auto and FMCG indices were also trading lower.On the other hand, media and select private sector banks witnessed buying interest.Mid- and small-cap shares were trading on a flat note as Nifty Midcap 100 index fell 0.1 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index was unchanged at 9,053.Hindalco, Tata Steel, ONGC, JSW Steel, Britannia Industries, Coal India, Sun Pharma, Indian Oil, Grasim Industries, Tata Consumer Products, Axis Bank, Tata Motors, Hero MotoCrorp, Nestle India and Bajaj Finance were among the losers.On the flipside, Titan, Mahindra & Mahindra, Cipla, Larsen & Toubro, HDFC Life, ICICI Bank, Infosys, Asian Paints, Wipro, Adani Ports, IndusInd Bank and Maruti Suzuki were among the notable gainers.The overall market breadth was positive as 1,351 shares were trading higher while 1,020 were declining on the BSE.



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