Heavy-selling of blue chips like Reliance Industries and Larsen & Toubro dragged down the Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex by nearly 137 points on Tuesday, amid concerns over slowing domestic industrial output growth and a weakening global trend.
The 30-share index of BSE fell 136.55 points to settle at 20,203.34 at the close of trade on Tuesday, compared to 20,339.89 at the end of Monday's session.
During the day, the gauge tumbled to an intra-day low of 20,107.25, after the IIP growth data was released, showing that production grew at a slower pace than market expectations in August 2010.
The wide-based National Stock Exchange Nifty fell below the 6,100-level on Tuesday after shedding 44.95 points to 6,090.90. During intra-day trade, it touched a low of 6,057.95 points.
The industrial production growth rate nearly halved to 5.6 per cent in August compared to the previous year. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee expressed his disappointment at the factory output numbers.
A weakening trend in the Asian region and a lower opening in Europe further influenced the trading sentiment.
Asian markets were trading in negative terrain on Tuesday, as traders reacted to weak cues from Wall Street, with the dollar languishing at a 15-year-low against the yen on expectations of steps being taken to boost the economy.
The Sensex's most valuable company, Reliance Industries, fell Rs 15.05 to Rs 1,053.90, on emergence of profit- booking at existing higher levels.
However, heavy machinery and construction company Larsen & Toubro was the biggest loser in the Sensex pack, with its shares falling Rs 39.50 - the most in more than two weeks - to Rs 1,998.60.
Similarly, another heavy equipment manufacturer, Bharat Heavy Engineering Ltd, lost Rs 32.30 to Rs 2,543.10, while Bharat Electronic Ltd fell by Rs 30.75 to Rs 1,852.10.
Analysts said a slowdown in the growth of output from factories, utilities and mines to 5.6 per cent in August was primarily responsible for the decline in these companies' shares.
Metal stocks also took a beating, as investors apprehended the raise in base metal prices in overseas markets might dent the revenue of metal producing companies.
Hindalco Industries, the country's biggest aluminium producer, lost Rs 4.40 to Rs 210.63, while Tata Steel fell Rs 6.90 to Rs 632.95 and JSW Steel Rs 35.20 to Rs 1,326.45.
A fall in metal prices in London, Shanghai and New York on the prospect of further credit tightening in China, the world's largest user, also vitiated the trading sentiment in metal stocks, analysts said.
The London Metal Exchange index of prices for six industrial metals, including copper and aluminum, fell 0.2 per cent on Monday.
In the 30-BSE index components, 22 stocks ended with losses, while eight closed with gains.