After US Fed chair Janet Yellen hinted at a rate hike, the BSE Sensex extended its losses for the second straight day by losing 231 points - its biggest single-day fall in over two weeks - to close below the 26,000-mark.
At an appearance before an economic group on Wednesday, she said she is “looking forward” to an interest rate hike, which sparked concerns about capital outflows from emerging markets.
Mood remained downbeat after a monthly survey showed that services sector output stagnated in November after four straight months of expansion.
The BSE Sensex touched a low of 25,857.35 before settling at 25,886.62, a fall of 231.23,or 0.89% -- its biggest single-day drop since November 18.
The gauge had lost 51.56 points in the previous session.
The 50-share NSE Nifty went below the crucial 7,900-mark and closed lower by 67.20 points, or 0.85%, at 7,864.15. It shuttled between 7,853.30 and 7,912.30 during the day.
ONGC tanked the most, with a fall of 2.65%, followed by Lupin and BHEL.
Moreover, Vedanta Ltd, ITC, M&M, Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp and ICICI Bank were down by up to 2.23%.
Stocks of IT and auto came under selling pressure as incessant rains in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu hit their operations hard.
Overall, 25 fell among 30-share Sensex constituents.
Sectorwise, BSE FMCG suffered the most plunging 1.48%, followed by consumer durables, metal, PSU and healthcare.
In step with the overall trend, the small-cap index fell 0.50% while the mid-cap index shed 0.42% as investors reduced their bets.
Asian markets showed a mixed trend at the close while Europe was trading higher in opening trade on expectations that ECB will ramp up its stimulus programme.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) after remaining net sellers on Indian markets for several sessions bought shares worth a net Rs 60.61 crore on Wednesday, provisional data by stock exchanges showed.