In cue with global equity market meltdown, especially in the US, Indian shares also crashed in the early hours of trading on Thursday before a half-hearted recovery at noon that cut the losses marginally.
Just within 10 minutes into trading, the benchmark sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) dipped to 14,347.89 points, down 653.02 points, or 4.35 per cent, over the previous session's close at 15,000.91 points.
Biggest falls in Sensex history
•May 18, 2006: registered a fall of 826 points to close at 11,391, it's biggest ever.
All the major stocks were reported to be running in the red. The other stock market benchmark, Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) had also opened more than 200 points below Tuesday's closing figure.
The Indian markets were closed on Wednesday for Independence Day.
Tata Steel, Bharti Airtel, ICICI Bank, the State Bank of India and Reliance Communications were among the major losers, with their stocks down between 6.2 per cent and 4.2 per cent.
"The main cause for worry is that the depressing reports about a slowdown in the economic recovery have revived in the US. The current turmoil in the credit and mortgage market is fuelling the crash," an analyst with a brokerage in Mumbai said.
The markets in the US fell for the fifth consecutive session on Wednesday and all the three major indices - the Dow Jones, Standard and Poor's 500 and the Nasdaq - ended with losses of more than one per cent.