In the worst crash this year, the benchmark Sensex broke below the 25,000-level on Thursday by tanking about 555 points, to close at 24,851.83 -- a 19-month low, as global stock and currency markets reeled after China let the yuan fall faster to battle a slowing economy.
The NSE Nifty too plunged headlong as it went below the 7,600-mark by falling 172.70 points, or 2.23%, on massive selling across sectors.
Realty, infrastructure, auto, metal and capital goods were among the worst hit as investors got anxious amid a global sell-off. Power, PSU, oil and gas and banking shares also came under pressure.
The 30-share BSE index resumed the day sharply lower in line with the global sell-off and remained weak throughout as selling intensified. The gauge ended with a steep fall of 554.50 points, or 2.18%, at 24,851.83, its lowest closing since June 4, 2014, when it closed at 24,805.83.
Intra-day, it hit a session’s low of 24,825.70. The Sensex has now lost 1,309.07 points in four straight sessions.
Asian markets were in deep red, with Shanghai shares crashing 7.32%, forcing authorities to suspend trading less than half an hour after opening as the new circuit-breaker tripped for the second time in a week.
The fall came amid worries over a slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy, which has roiled investors worldwide, and pressure on its currency from capital outflows.
China’s central bank on Thursday lowered the yuan against the US dollar by 0.51% to 6.5646, the lowest since March 2011.
After getting below the 7,600-mark, the NSE Nifty touched the day’s low of 7,556.60 before settling at 7,568.30, a sharp fall of 172.70 points, or 2.23%.
All the 30-Sensex constituents led by BHEL (6.98%), Tata Steel (6.85%) and Tata Motors (6.15%) ended in the negative territory.
The sell-off also sparked losses in Axis Bank, Maruti Suzuki, ONGC, SBI, Adani Ports, L&T, Bajaj Auto, Hindustan Unilever, NTPC, Hero MotoCorp, M&M, HDFC Ltd, Lupin, Cipla, RIL, Dr Reddy’s and ITC, falling up to 4.98%.
In the forex market, the rupee was trading at a fresh two-week low of 66.90 against the dollar (intra-day).
Sentiment further got dampened after global crude prices softened to multi-year lows following China’s weakening currency and rising global stock reserve.
The US benchmark crude contract slid below $34 a barrel while Brent fell to $33.61 per barrel.
The BSE realty index suffered the most tumbling 4.50%, followed by infrastructure 3.91%, auto 3.72%, metal 3.72% and power 3.45%.
In line with the overall trend, the BSE small-cap and mid-cap indices plunged 2.87 and 2.61%, respectively.
The weakness in Shanghai’s composite index triggered an Asian share slump of 7.36%, following overnight losses in US markets.
Foreign portfolio investors net sold shares worth Rs 242.48 crore on Wednesday, provisional data showed.