On its third straight fall on Monday, the benchmark BSE Sensex plunged 261 points to a fresh three-and-a-half months low of 27,176.99 on sustained capital outflows and disappointing March quarter earnings so far.
Sentiment remained largely weak on continued capital outflows by foreign investor over retrospective taxation worries, traders said. Foreign portfolio investors sold shares worth Rs 775.46 crore on Friday, as per provisional data.
Moreover, approaching April month's expiry in the derivatives segment on Thursday and mixed closing in other Asian bourses hit stock markets.
Maruti Suzuki, country's largest carmaker, which reported a 60.5% jump in its net profit at Rs 1,284.2 crore for the fourth quarter surged 3.02% to Rs 3,646.70, capped losses to some extent.
Meanwhile, rupee also depreciated to almost four-month low of 63.77 (intra-day) against the dollar.
The BSE index opened higher and rose over 129 points to touch the day's high of 27,567.28 in early trade on the back of value-buying and positive cues from other Asian markets, but on emergence of profit-booking, it dipped to the session's low of 27,141.55.
The gauge finally settled the day lower by 260.95 points or 0.95% at 27,176.99, its lowest closing since January 7, when it closed at 26,908.82 points.
Sensex has lost 713.14 points in three days of downward spiral. Similarly, the 50-share NSE Nifty end below 8,300-mark by falling 91.45 points or 1.10% to close at 8,213.80 after moving between 8,334.45 and 8,202.35 intraday.
Bharti Airtel was the worst performer on Sensex with 3.11% slide, followed by SBI by falling 3.08%, while BHEL lost 2.87%. ICICI Bank ended 1.85% lower even after company posted 10.2% growth in its net profit at Rs 2,922 crore in fourth quarter.
Other prominent losers were Dr Reddy's, HDFC, Hindustan Unilever, GAIL, Cipla, Sun Pharma, Axis Bank, Hindalco, RIL, ONGC and Hero MotoCorp. Of 30 Sensex stocks, 23 ended in negative zone, while HDFC Bank ended flat. Sectorwise, the BSE realty index suffered the most by losing 3.96%, followed by healthcare 3.21%, oil&gas down 2.48%, consumer durables 2.17%, FMCG 1.73% and bankex 1.33%.
The BSE smallcap index fell 2.85%, while the midcap ended 2.10% lower.