Markets wilted under selling pressure for the sixth straight day Wednesday as investor sentiment remained grim amid US-China trade tensions and declining foreign fund inflows.
The 30-share BSE Sensex plunged 487.50 points, or 1.27 per cent, to end at 37,789.13; while the broader NSE Nifty sank 138.45 points, or 1,20 per cent, to 11,359.45.
According to traders, domestic equities tracked weakness in global markets, which have been rattled ever since US President Donald Trump on Sunday threatened to hike tariffs on USD 200 billion worth of Chinese goods this week.
The recent flare-up in tensions between the world's two top economies has sent investors scurrying to safe-haven assets like bonds, gold and the Japanese yen.
A depreciating rupee, mixed corporate earnings and caution ahead of the elections outcome added to the gloom, analysts added.
Index heavyweight Reliance Industries was the biggest loser in the Sensex pack, skidding 3.35 per cent, followed by Bajaj Finance, Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto, SBI and Vedanta.
HDFC twins, Sun Pharma, NTPC, Yes Bank and IndusInd Bank were among the other laggards.
Only Asian Paints, HCL Tech and TCS ended in the green, rising up to 0.60 per cent.
"The domestic markets have been on the decline for the last two days mainly due to the flare up in the US-China trade war. A lack of an agreement between the two economies could hurt global growth in the near term.
"Q4FY19 earnings season so far has mainly been lackluster. Also, the ongoing general elections have kept major market participants cautious. FIIs, which have been supporting the market through their inflows, have turned sellers in the past few days. Expect markets to remain volatile until elections results (May 23rd)," said Hemang Jani, Head - Advisory, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas.
All sectoral indices on BSE ended in the red, led by energy, realty, utilities, oil and gas, finance, bankex, healthcare, telecom and teck, which tumbled up to 2.51 per cent.
The broader BSE smallcap and midcap indices too ended lower by up to 1.21 per cent.
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 645.08 crore on Tuesday, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) purchased equities to the tune of Rs 818.84 crore, provisional data available with stock exchanges showed.
Other Asian bourses ended significantly lower following weak Chinese trade data. The Shanghai Composite Index declined 1.12 per cent, Hang Seng 1.23 per cent, Nikkei 1.46 per cent and Kospi 0.41 per cent.
European stocks were trading on a mixed note in early trade.
The Indian rupee depreciated 19 paise to 69.59 against the US dollar intra-day.
Global benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.41 per cent lower at USD 69.59 per barrel.
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