Sensex, Nifty slide as investors lock in gains after record high

FILE PHOTO: People walk past the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai, India, November 4, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File photo

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares suffered their worst fall in more than a month on Wednesday, as investors booked profits on pandemic bets such as drugs and IT services after stock benchmarks hit record highs.

Eleven of the 12 sectoral indexes ended lower, with the pharmaceutical and real estate indexes falling more than 2% each. IT stocks fell 1.62%.

Only state-run banks ended higher. The Nifty PSU banking index that tracks them advanced 1.8%. Punjab National Bank rose 3.1%, while Bank of Baroda jumped 4.7%.

While investors in recent weeks have shifted money away from early pandemic winners such as pharmaceuticals and IT into metals, automotive and private-sector banks, state-run lenders have been laggards.

The Nifty PSU banking index is the worst performing sectoral index this year, having fallen 40% amid worries of more loan defaults facing banks already saddled with a mountain of bad debt.

The Nifty had hit an all-time high in early trading after surpassing the 13,000 level for the first time ever on Tuesday, powered by a string of upbeat vaccine trial results and record inflows from foreign money managers.

The Nifty 50 ended 1.51% lower at 12,858.40, while the Sensex settled 1.56% lower at 43,828.10.

Private-sector banks HDFC and Kotak Mahindra were the top drags on the Nifty 50, followed by IT services firm Infosys.

Meanwhile, global shares reached record highs after the Dow Jones broke 30,000, with investors relieved at the prospect of a smooth handover of power after the U.S. presidential election and confident a COVID-19 vaccine would soon be ready.

Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber