Markets on Wednesday logged their steepestloss in over month with Sensex falling 208 points and Nifty slipping 59 points on continued profit-booking after hitting record highs recently and concerns that a sooner than expected hike in US interest rates would affect capital inflows.
In step with weak equity markets and other emerging market currencies, the rupee plunged to 61-level against the greenback intra-day.
Selling mainly in heavyweights like ITC, Infosys, RIL, HDFC, L&T, HDFC Bank and TCS kept the market under pressure.
Shares from Consumer Durables, Oil&Gas, FMCG, IT and Capital Goods sectors suffered losses while some shares from Realty and Power attracted buying.
"Concerns over US Fed hiking interest rates earlier than expected added to the weakness in global markets. Crucial CPI and IIP data this week along with US fed decision will be in focus in coming sessions," said Kiran Kumar Kavikondala, Director & CEO, WealthRays Securities.
All eyes are now Fed's policy-setting meeting on September 16-17 that could give more cues on rate trajectory.
Despite sharp falls in Sensex and Nifty, total market breadth was positive on consistent buying by retail investors in second-line stocks.
The BSE 30-share barometer resumed slightly lower and remained in negative terrain throughout the day to settle at 27,057.41, a steep fall of 207.91 points or 0.76 %. This is its biggest fall since 259.87 point loss on August 8.
On Tuesday, the Sensex slipped 54.53 points after it hit new highs on Monday.
The 50-issue CNX Nifty of the NSE also tumbled by 58.85 points, or 0.72 %, to end at 8,094.10. This is its sharpest single-day loss since 80.70-point drop on August 8.
"Markets were sluggish to start and ended the day even lower taking cues from weak global markets. The Supreme Court's reserved decision on the coal block allocations also kept traders cautious as did the depreciating rupee," said Jayant Manglik, President-retail distribution, Religare Securities.
Among major laggards, tobacco product giant ITC (down 1.85 %) was second biggest loser from the Sensex pack on concerns the government may tighten tobacco regulations. Hero MotoCorp fell the most as it fell 2.44 %.
Meanwhile, Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 479.40 crore on Tuesday, as per provisional data from the stock exchanges.
PSU OMCs saw share prices falling on Wednesday even as Brent crude oil fell below USD 99 a barrel. Petrol and diesel rates are due for revision on September 15. Oil India, Cairn, BPCL, IOC, HPCL, ONGC, and Gail India closed down between 0.43 % and 3.09 %.
Asian stocks, barring Japan, ended lower on concern that China's growth is slowing and speculation that US interest rates will rise sooner than estimated. Key indices in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea fell by 0.13 % to 1.93 %.
European markets were also trading lower as the region's governments weighed tougher sanctions on Russia. Key indices in France, Germany and UK eased by 0.13 % to 0.35 %.
Jignesh Chaudhary, Head of Research, Veracity Broking Services said: "Local equities traded weak following overnight fall in US equities which collapsed the emerging markets. Concern rose that US Federal Reserve could signal an earlier-than-expected rate hike at its next policy meeting on September 16-17."
In Sensex, 22 scrips ended lower while eight closed up.
Major losers include Hero MotoCorp (2.44 %), ITC (1.85 %), Infosys (1.84 %), Coal India (1.80 %), RIL (1.67 %), HDFC (1.52 %), M&M (1.43 %), Larsen (1.27 %), BHEL (1.04 %) and TCS (0.96 %).
Gainers were led by Sesa Sterlite (1.62 %), Tata Power 1.58 %, ICICI Bank 1.53 % and Bajaj Auto 1.12 %.
Among the S&P BSE sectoral indices, Consumer Durables fell by 1.56 %, Oil&Gas 1.49 %, FMCG 1.48 % and IT 1.06 %.
Total market breadth remained strong on the back of smallcap and midcap stocks. About 1,741 stocks closed in the green while 1,272 finished in the red while 94 held unchanged. Market turnover, however, declined to Rs 3,262.72 crore from Rs 3,426.79 crore on Tuesday.