A benchmark index for Indian equities markets Tuesday closed more than one and a half percent lower in cautious trade in the run-up to the general budget and on negative global cues.
This is the lowest level of the 30-scrip Sensex of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in the last three months.
Automobile, oil and gas, capital goods, bank and metal scrips declined. However, information technology (IT) and media, entertainment and technology (TECk) stocks rallied.
The 30-scrip Sensex, which opened at 19,290.66 points, closed at 19,015.14 points, down 316.55 points or 1.64 percent from its previous close at 19,331.69 points.
The Sensex touched an intra-day high of 19,293.49 points and a low of 18,976.94 points. The midcap index closed down 115.21 points, while the smallcap index closed 157.29 points lower.
The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was trading 93.40 points or 1.60 percent lower at 5,761.35 points.
The BSE automobile index, down 297.20 points, followed by the oil and gas index, down 274.81 points, the bank index,s down 232.19 points, the capital goods index, down 232.14 points, and the metal index, down 217.50 points.
However, the BSE IT index was up 59.73 points and the TECk index closed 29.84 points higher.
Only four out of 30 Sensex companies were gainers including Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), up 1.56 percent at Rs.1,494.30; Infosys, up 1.47 percent at Rs.2,960.10; Bharti Airtel, up 1.38 percent at Rs.311.30; NTPC, up 0.73 percent at Rs.151.00; and Hindustan Unilever, up 0.22 percent at Rs.453.00.
The major losers included Hindalco Inds, down 4.49 percent at Rs.102.00; Bajaj Auto, down 4.20 percent at Rs.1,921.90; HDFC, down 3.74 percent at Rs.772.15; ONGC, down 3.74 percent at Rs.306.30; and Reliance Industries, down 3.51 percent at Rs.823.95.
Among other Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei closed 2.26 percent lower, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended 1.32 percent down. China's Shanghai Composite Index closed 1.40 percent lower.
In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 was down 1.35 percent, while the German DAX was trading 1.91 percent lower. The French CAC 40 was also down 2.37 percent.