Markets on Thursday slumped for the second consecutive day, with Sensex losing almost 249 points to end at over one-month low of 26,304.20 and the NSE Nifty slipping below 8,000-mark due to continued selling by cautious investors ahead of the Bihar poll outcome.
Besides, the rupee weakened 28 paise against the dollar to 65.77 (intra-day) on sustained capital outflows, which dampened market sentiment.
Sentiment remained fragile because of caution ahead of Bihar assembly election results as also weaker-than-expected Q2 earnings by some blue-chips.
Exit polls are due later in the day and results will be out on Sunday.
The BSE Sensex after opening a shade higher quickly turned negative and finally settled the day lower 248.72 points, or 0.94 per cent, at 26,304.20 after selling pressure accelerated towards the fag end — weakest closing since October 1. The gauge had lost 37.67 points in yesterday’s choppy session.
Among Sensex constituents, Vedanta Ltd suffered the most by plunging 4.66 per cent while Sun Pharma dived 4.28 per cent after its US-listed subsidiary Taro Pharma reported disappointed earnings.
Tata Steel plunged 4.33 per cent ahead of its quarterly earnings later in the day.
Other losers which contributed to the fall in the key indices were BHEL, Bharti Airtel, GAIL, Cipla and Axis Bank.
As many as 23 Sensex stocks fell.
However, Coal India, NTPC, Hero MotoCorp, ITC, M&M and Maruti Suzuki scooped up gains.
The 50-share NSE Nifty broke below the psychological 8,000-mark by tumbling 84.75 points, or 1.05 percent, to close at 7,955.45 after shuttling between 8,031.20 and 7,944.10.
Meanwhile, FPIs bought shares worth Rs. 33.16 crore yesterday, as per the provisional data.
Sectorwise, BSE realty index fell the most by dropping 2.63 per cent, followed by healthcare, banking, technology and IT.
In line with the overall trend, small-cap and mid-cap indices also ended in the red with losses of up to 1.59 per cent.