The BSE Sensex plunged 322 points, logging its biggest single-day drop in four months, weighed down by a sharp 8 per cent sell-off in Infosys shares after a key executive quit, amid expiry of monthly equity derivative contracts.
The 30-share index of the Bombay Stock Exchange resumed lower at 24,523.13 and continued to lose momentum to touch an intra-day low of 24,206.50. It settled at 24,234.15, down 321.94 points or 1.31 per cent - its biggest fall since the 426.11-point crash on January 27.
This closing level is Sensex's lowest since 24,298.02 on May 21. It had ended higher by 6.58 points on Wednesday.
The 50-share National Stock Exchange Nifty dipped below 7,300-mark by falling 94.00 points, or 1.28 per cent, to close at 7,235.65 after shuttling between 7,325.40 and 7,224.40 intra-day.
Besides, expiry of May month series in the derivative contracts and persistent foreign capital outflows coupled with mixed global cues also affected the market sentiment, pulling down the benchmark indices.
Tepid earnings from some bluechips also dashed hopes, say traders. There was also continued profit-booking in recent outperformers such as power, oil and gas, capital goods, banking, PSUs, realty and consumer durable stocks, they added.
It was bad session for IT stocks led by Infosys. The Bangalore-headquartered giant ended 7.81 per cent lower to end below the crucial Rs 3,000-mark for the first time since mid-September 2013 after board member and President BG Srinivas, who was considered among the top contenders for the first non-founder CEO post, resigned from the company.
Wipro fell by 2.63 per cent and HCL Tech, which is not a Sensex entity, slid 2.5 per cent. However, TCS rose.
Of the 30-share Sensex, 22 stocks closed with losses led by Infosys, the third most influential on the barometer. Oil refinery major Reliance Industries fell 1.42 per cent after the Comptroller and Auditor General pulled up the firm for charging a rate in excess of the government approved price for its KG-D6 gas field.
Sectorally, the BSE IT sector index suffered the most by falling 3.44 per cent, followed by Tech index (2.92 per cent), Oil and gas index (1.64 per cent). Overall, 11 of 12 indices fell while BSE Healthcare index rose.