The benchmark indices were trading near the flat line in early afternoon trade. At 12:20 IST, the barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, fell 43.32 points or 0.09% at 48,835.22. The Nifty 50 index slipped 8.30 points or 0.06% at 14,363.60.
In the broader market, the S&P BSE Mid-Cap index skid 0.51% while the S&P BSE Small-Cap index lost 0.77%.
The market breadth was weak. On the BSE, 921 shares rose and 1,844 shares fell. A total of 161 shares were unchanged.
The NSE's India VIX, a gauge of market's expectation of volatility over the near term, jumped 4.11% to 23.3450. The Nifty 28 January 2021 futures were trading at 14,371.40, at a premium of 7.80 as compared with the spot at 14,363.60.
The Nifty option chain for 28 January 2021 expiry showed maximum Call OI of 52.40 lakh contracts at the 15,000 strike price. Maximum Put OI of 36.30 lakh contracts was seen at 14,000 strike price.
The media reported that the Indian and the Chinese troops had brawled again on their contested border, leaving injuries on both sides. The incident happened last week at the Naku La pass in Sikkim state, the reports added.
India and China on Sunday reportedly held the ninth round of senior commanders' talks in a fresh bid to resolve the military standoff at eastern Ladakh.
As per reports, India has insisted on setting in motion at the earliest the process of disengagement and de-escalation of troops by the two countries to restore peace and tranquility in border areas.
The last round of talks between the military commanders was held in November last year while senior diplomats of the two countries met on 18 December under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Coordination and Consultation (WMCC) in border areas.
Total COVID-19 confirmed cases worldwide stood at 9,91,92,353 with 21,29,403 deaths. India reported 1,84,182 active cases of COVID-19 infection and 1,53,470 deaths while 1,03,30,084 patients have been discharged, according to the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
Reports suggest Tata Group's healthcare venture is said to have started initial discussions with Moderna Inc for a partnership to launch its COVID-19 vaccine in India. Tata Medical & Diagnostics could team up with the India's Council of Scientific and Industrial Research to carry out clinical trials of Moderna's vaccine candidate in India.
The Nifty Pharma index rose 1.24% to 12,697.95. The index fell 2.63% in the past two days.
Aurobindo Pharma (up 6.81%), Cipla (up 3.85%), Lupin (up 1.97%), Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (up 1.62%) and Cadila Healthcare (up 1.11%) advanced.
Stocks in Spotlight:
Tata Motors fell 2.45%. The car major will hike prices of its passenger vehicle range, effective 22 January 2021. Rising input costs and material costs of steel, precious metals and semiconductors have compelled the company to pass on a part of the cost to customers. Tata Motors has marginally increased prices from 0 to Rs 26,000, depending on the variant. Continuing its commitment towards customers, the company will also offer protection from the price increase to customers who have booked Tata passenger vehicles on or before 21 January 2021.
Cadila Healthcare gained 1.34% after the company received final approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) to market Liothyronine Sodium tablets USP, 5 mcg, 25 mcg, and 50 mcg. Liothyronine is a man-made form of thyroid hormone which is used to treat an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). It replaces or provides more thyroid hormone, which is normally made by the thyroid gland. The drug will be manufactured at the group's formulation manufacturing facility at the SEZ, Ahmedabad.
Tata Power fell 1.32%. Tata Power Solar Systems has received a letter of award (LoA) to build 320 MW of ground mounted Solar PV project for NTPC. The order value of the project is approximately Rs 1,200 crore. The commercial operation date for this project is set for May 2022. With this addition, the order pipeline of Tata Power Solar stands at approximately 4GWp with approx. value of Rs 12,000 crore.