Domestic equity benchmarks today slid the most in over three weeks with the Sensex tanking 414 points and Nifty slumping 119 points on across-the-board losses in the second half of the session as investors tracked weak global cues and continuing geo-political tensions. Asian indices fell on weak eurozone data and as news of Argentina's debt default and talks of rise in US jobless claims made investors jittery, say brokers. The US non-farm payroll data later today will give more cues.
The US Fed's move to trim stimulus had triggered capital outflow concerns. Major European indices were also trading 1.5-2 per cent lower in afternoon trade, extending the global sell-off. The BSE 30-share Sensex resumed lower and remained in negative ground throughout the day before ending at 25,480.84, revealing a fall of 414.13 points or 1.60 per cent. This is its biggest drop since July 8 when it tanked 518 points. Selling was seen across-the-board as all 12 BSE sectoral indices closed in the red. They registered losses between 0.9 per cent and 3.27 per cent. Consumer Durable, Oil&Gas, Capital Goods, Power and IT were laggards. Tepid earnings in some firms also hit the sentiment.
"Markets sold off in the second half. Weak global markets and continuing geo-political tensions rode over the positive core sector growth data released in India yesterday," said Dipen Shah, Head- PCG Research, Kotak Securities.
Index-based counters like RIL, HDFC, ITC, TCS, HDFC Bank, ONGC, Sun Pharma, Tata Motors, Infosys, M&M and Sesa Sterlite suffered heavy losses. They together accounted for over 350 points decline in the Sensex. Similarly, the 50-issue NSE Nifty plunged 118.70 points, or 1.54 per cent, to end at 7,602.60. This was also its worst drop since 163.95-point loss on July 8 post Railway Budget. In line with weak equities, the rupee surpassed the 61-mark against the dollar to trade at over three-month low.
"The overall sentiment also remained downbeat after India's fiscal deficit crossed half the budget estimate in the first three months of the fiscal," said Jayant Manglik, President-retail distribution, Religare Securities. In oil markets, the benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September delivery fell 17 cents to USD 98.00 a barrel, while Brent crude for September was down 13 cents to USD 105.89. For the week, the Sensex and Nifty were down 646 points and 188 points respectively -- snapping successive gains in the previous two weeks.