Indian markets on Tuesday suffered a big jolt with Sensex crashing 431 points and Nifty plunging 129 points in their worst drop in two-and-a-half months following a sell-off in overseas markets on concerns over global growth.
Slower foreign fund inflow and profit-booking after recent bull run ahead of the expiry of September derivative contracts on Thursday also weighed on domestic sentiments.
Over 2,100 stocks listed on the BSE fell on Tuesday, wiping out more than Rs 1.63 lakh crore in investor wealth.
Selling was seen across-the-board as all 12 sectoral indices closed in the red logging losses between 0.38% and 4.91%.
Realty, oil and gas, capital goods, metal and pharma segments led the downslide.
On the global front, data spooked investors after data showed Eurozone's private sector activity slowed again this month. This sent major European markets on a downward spiral.
In Asia, indices closed mixed with a downward bias after a survey in China showed factory employment slumped to a 5-1/2-year low even as manufacturing grew more thane expectations in September.
Back home, the BSE 30-share barometer, after few minutes intro trading touched a high of 27,256.87 but fell soon on emergence of profit-booking.
Heavy selling forced the index to conclude at 26,775.69, a steep fall of 431.05 points or 1.58%.
Previously, it had stumbled by 517.97 points or 1.98% on July 8, 2014.
Similarly, the wide-based 50-issue CNX Nifty of the NSE tanked by 128.75 points or 1.58% to end at 8,017.55.
This is its worst drop since July 8 when it fell 164 points.
"Markets fell sharply on the back of profit booking and negative global cues. The selling pressure gained momentum after data released on Eurozone economic activity indicated continuing weakness in the region," said Sanjeev Zarbade, vice president- Private Client Group Research, Kotak Securities.
Stocks like Cipla, Tata Motors, Hindalco, Tata Steel and Tata Power were major laggards on Tuesday.
TCS, Sun Pharma, SBI, RIL, ONGC, Mahindra and Mahindra, L&T, Infosys, ICICI Bank and Coal India fell sharply.
Bucking the trend, stocks of Hindustan Unilever, ITC, Maruti Suzuki and NTPC gained. Second-line stocks also suffered heavy losses on profit selling by retail investors.