The Indian equity benchmarks came off intraday low levels in noon deals but were trading on a flat note as gains in ICICI Bank, HDFC, Kotak Mahindra Bank, State Bank of India and Axis Bank were offset with losses in Hindustan Unilever, Asian Paints, Larsen & Toubro and Mahindra & Mahindra. The benchmarks staged a gap down opening wherein the Sensex fell as much as 501 points and Nifty 50 index dipped below its important psychological level of 14,200. Rising Covid cases and subsequent lockdowns to curb the spread of infections have dampened the investor sentiment and raised doubts over the country’s nascent economic recovery, analysts said.As of 12:02 pm, the Sensex was up 35 points or 0.07 per cent at 47,741 and Nifty 50 index was up 17 points at 14,313.India’s tally of COVID-19 cases soared by 314,835 over the previous 24 hours, the highest daily increase recorded anywhere. The previous record one-day rise in cases was held by the United States, at 297,430, in January.Eight of 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading higher led by the Nifty Metal index’s nearly 2 per cent gain. Nifty Bank, PSU Bank, Private Bank and Pharma indices also rose between 0.6-1 per cent.On the other hand, auto, FMCG and real estate shares were witnessing selling pressure.Mid- and small-cap shares were largely outperforming their larger peers as Nifty Midcap 100 index rose 0.32 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index advanced 0.75 per cent.Wipro was top Nifty gainer, the stock rose 4 per cent to Rs 490. Tata Steel, JSW Steel, ICICI Bank, Bharat Petroleum, SBI Life, Dr Reddy’s Labs, State Bank of India, Bajaj Auto, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Sun Pharma also rose between 1-4 per cent.On the flipside, Shree Cements, Titan, Mahindra & Mahindra, Hindustan Unilever, Asian Paints, Tata Consumer Products, UltraTech Cement, Nestle India, Tech Mahindra, Larsen &B Toubro, Grasim Industries and IndusInd Bank were among the laggards.The overall market breadth was positive as 1,608 shares were advancing while 1,098 were declining on the BSE.