All-round selling pressure, especially in realty and IT stocks, pulled down the BSE benchmark Sensex by 150 points on Wednesday amid distinctly weak global cues.
The dampened market sentiment took a further hit after the country's top telecom operator, Bharti Airtel, posted a 32 per cent decline in June quarter profit to Rs 1,682 crore.
Analysts said that market sentiment was weak after the US Federal Reserve said that the recovery is losing pace. Wall Street ended in the deep red in yesterday's session. In addition, the Bank of England's gloomy outlook for the UK economy also depressed investor sentiment.
After a promising start, the markets came under selling pressure and the 30-share barometer of the Bombay Stock Exchange settled lower by 149.80 points, or 0.82 per cent, at 18,070.19, extending the losses for the second consecutive day. In the past two days, the Sensex has fallen by 217 points.
The National Stock Exchange's wide-based 50-share Nifty index dropped by 0.73 per cent to finish at 5,420.60 points.
With fears of a slowdown in the US economy coming to the fore again, domestic software exporters, who earn more than 50 per cent of their revenue from the US and Europe, were one of the worst-hit stocks. Infosys lost 0.72 per cent, Wipro 2 per cent and Tata Consultancy Services 0.64 per cent.
Realty and banking stocks, which were the fancy of investors in the recent past, were the major losers today on emergence of profit-booking. Analysts said these two sectors move in tune with the broader market.
They also said metal stocks were under pressure amid worries of slower growth of the Chinese economy. Tata Steel plunged 3.26 per cent, the most in the Sensex pack. Sterlite, another metal major, too lost 1.51 per cent.
India's most valuable entity, Reliance Industries, continued its losing streak, falling by 0.38 per cent to Rs 984.50. The other major losers were HDFC (down 2.23 per cent) and ICICI Bank (down 1.27 per cent), besides Bharti Airtel, which shed 1.5 per cent over poor June quarter numbers.
"These days, global sentiments are deciding the direction of the local markets. The fall in domestic markets was in line with the weak overseas sentiment," Networth Stock Broking Head of Institutional Business Prakash Diwan said.
However, the downtrend was cushioned by Tata Motors, which rose by Rs 49.35, or over 5 per cent, to Rs 1,006.65, extending gains for the sixth consecutive day. The stock yesterday rose to its highest level in at least 19 years after the company posted a first quarter profit after recording a loss in the corresponding period a year ago.
Trading was more of a stock-specific nature, with the result that 24 stocks in the 30-BSE index components fell, while six ended with gains.