The stock markets turned distinctly weak on all-round selling amid squaring up of long positions that took its toll on shares' values and the benchmark Sensex tumbled by a whopping 162 points.
Bank, auto and IT shares led the fall and were at the receiving end on heavy offloading.
Squaring up long outstanding positions by operators and retail investors ahead of the expiry of March contract on Thursday also impacted negatively on the market sentiment.
The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) 30-share sensitive index opened strong at 13,345.73 points, which was also to be the day's high, but reacted downward on sustained selling and touched a low of 13,090.80 before ending at 13,124.32, a steep fall of 161.61 points or 1.22 per cent.
Similarly, the broader S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) dipped by 41.10 points or 1.06 per cent to 3,819.95 from previous close of 3,861.05 points.
Auto counters were under heavy selling pressure following possibility of slowdown in sales due to high interest rates amid spiralling global crude oil prices near USD 63 a barrel, dealers said.
IT stocks also bore the brunt of sellings due to rising rupee against dollar to a 20-month-high as strengthening rupee impacts their bottomline, they added.
The fall in the Sensex could be gauged by 26 out of 30 index-based shares suffered sharp to moderate losses.