Breaking its two-day rally, the BSE Sensex on Thursday tanked over 461 points -- its biggest single-day decline in three weeks -- by cracking below the 26,000-mark after BOJ took investors by surprise by deciding against fresh stimulus.
Caution due to April F&O expiry and weak global cues following subdued Asian markets added to the widespread sell-off. BoJ also maintained status quo on interest rates. Earlier, the US Federal Reserve chose to keep its policy unchanged while signalling confidence in the economic outlook.
The broader NSE Nifty went below the psychological 7,900-mark. Moreover, caution in the face of expiry of April series contracts in the derivatives segment dampened sentiment, brokers said.
The index was dragged down by losses mainly in metal, oil & gas, FMCG, infrastructure and auto stocks. Participants were seen offloading their long bets in futures and options (F&O) segment instead of carrying them forward to the next series for May.
The Sensex resumed higher, then slipped into the negative zone as selling intensified. It ended at 25,603.10, a fall of 461.02 points, or 1.77% -- its biggest single-day fall since April 5.
The index gained 385 points over the past two sessions. The broader Nifty crashed 132.65 points, or 1.66 %, to 7,847.25.
Japan’s Nikkei sank 3.61 % while Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.27 %. European shares also fell largely in tandem with sell-off on Asian markets.
Market heavyweights like HDFC plunged 3.21 %, ITC 3 %, M&M 2.99 %, Maruti Suzuki 2.94 %, GAIL 2.52 %, Tata Steel 2.50 % and NTPC 2.45 %.
Bharti Airtel remained strong for most of the session on the back of better-than-expected Q4 earnings, but then succumbed to profit-taking and ended 0.23 % down.
Hindustan Unilever, Bajaj Auto, BHEL, Infosys, Adani Ports, SBI, RIL, Cipla, ONGC, Hero MotoCorp, ICICI Bank, Tata Motors and Coal India all lost ground.
Foreign portfolio investors net bought shares worth Rs 411 crore yesterday, provisional data showed. In the 30-share Sensex constituents, 27 ended lower and three higher.
The BSE oil&gas index suffered the most by losing 2.18 %, followed by metal (2.16 %), power (2.01 %), auto (1.99 %), FMCG (1.95 %), PSU (1.90 %), capital goods (1.49 %) and IT 1.42 %).
Selling pressure also dragged down the BSE small-cap index by 1.05 % and mid-cap by 0.78 %.