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Sensex drops over 70 points in early trade below 41320-mark; Nifty below 12,200

MUMBAI: Market benchmark Sensex dropped over 70 points on Friday as investors chose to stay cautious ahead of the Union Budget amid weak global cues. The 30-share BSE index was trading 71.95 points or 0.17 per cent lower at 41,314.45. Similarly, the broader NSE was trading 17.85 points, or 0.15 per cent, down at 12,162.50.

Top losers in the Sensex pack included PowerGrid, Kotak Bank, Infosys, TCS, Tata Steel and Bharti Airtel. On the other hand, Asian Paints, Titan, Bajaj Auto, RIL, Sun Pharma, L&T and ICICI Bank were trading on a positive note.

According to analysts, a cautious trend remain in the near-term since a lot has been factored in the market about budget wish list and revival in earnings growth, while the start to Q3 result is below par.

Bourses in Hong Kong and Japan were trading on a tepid note, while markets in China, Taiwan and South Korea were closed for a holiday on Friday. Brent crude oil futures rose 0.06 per cent to USD 62.08 per barrel.

On the currency front, the rupee depreciated marginally to 71.29 against the US dollar in morning session. In the previous session, Sensex settled 271.02 points, or 0.66 per cent, higher at 41,386.40. Likewise, the Nifty closed 73.45 points, or 0.61 per cent, down at 12,180.35.

Meanwhile, on a net basis, foreign institutional investors bought equities worth Rs 1,352.13 crore, while domestic institutional investors offloaded shares worth Rs 984.56 crore on Thursday, data available with stock exchanges showed.