The benchmark Sensex on Thursday plummeted over 654 points in its biggest drop in nearly three months to end at 27,457.58 on across the board selling as geo-political issues in the Middle East triggered capital outflow concerns.
Participants were also jittery as Thursday saw expiry of monthly derivative contracts, brokers said, adding that global sentiment was weak after US equities fell overnight reacting to a surprise fall in durable goods orders for February.
Crude oil surged by almost 6 percent on supply concerns after Saudi Arabia carried out air strikes against Huthi rebels in Yemen today.
In the local currency market, the Indian rupee weakened by another 32 paise to 62.65 (intra-day) against the dollar.
The BSE 30-share Sensex remained in the negative zone through out the session as selling pressure gathered momentum. It ended 654.25 points, or 2.33 percent down, at 27,457.58, its weakest closing since January 14.
The index has now lost 1,278.80 points in seven straight sessions. The index’s drop today was its steepest since 854.85-point fall on January 6.
“The F&O expiry and potential geo-political issues in the Middle East, likely to have impacted markets,” said Dipen Shah, Head of Private Client Group Research, Kotak Securities.
Market heavyweights like HDFC plunged 5.32 percent, Wipro fell 4.01 percent, Sesa Sterlite tumbled 3.90 percent, Infosys declined 3.30 percent and SBI lost 3.18 percent.
Other prominent losers were Coal India, HDFC Bank, Hind Unilever, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, Tata Motors, Sun Pharma, ONGC, Hindalco, TCS, NTPC, Tata Steel, Dr Reddy’s and RIL.
Bharti Airtel, GAIL, L&T and Hero MotoCorp ended higher.
The 50-share NSE index Nifty tumbled below the crucial 8,400-mark by losing 188.65 points, or 2.21 percent, at 8,342.15 after shuttling between 8,499.45 and 8,325.35.
Sectorwise, the BSE IT index suffered the most by losing 2.63 percent, followed by Banking (2.52 percent), Metal (2.24 percent), Oil & Gas (1.99 percent), Healthcare (1.90 percent), FMCG (1.42 percent), Auto (1.50 percent), Realty (1.48 percent), Power (0.78 percent) and Consumer Durables (0.85 percent).
Selling pressure also dragged down the BSE Smallcap index by 1 percent and Midcap index by 0.84 percent.
Foreign Portfolio Investors bought shares worth net Rs 813.19 crore yesterday as per provisional data.