The Indian stock market opened the week on a disastrous note as stocks tumbled on Monday, with investors tracking weak global cues and indulging in heavy selling right through the session.
A select few blue chips, and some stocks from the midcap and smallcap segments managed to buck the trend, but the overall mood was so bearish that the key indices ended the day with sharp losses.
Fears about U.S. interest rates, disappointing trade data out of China and forecasts by analysts of some leading fund houses about more downside for U.S. stocks rendered the mood bearish. Selling gained momentum past mid afternoon after European markets opened on a highly negative note.
The rupee's weakness against the U.S. dollar and investors' reluctance to pick up stocks ahead of inflation data and quarterly results from India Inc too contributed to market's decline.
The BSE benchmark Sensex ended down 439.23 points or 1.56% at 27,643.11. The Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange, which plunged to 8541.35, closed at 8573.35, losing 135.45 points or 1.56%.
In the forex market, the rupee weakened to 66.96 against the U.S. dollar and was trading at 66.90 a dollar around late afternoon, down 0.54% from its previous close.
Among the sectoral indices, only BSE IT (up marginally) managed to move up. Indices tracking the movements of stocks from realty, metal, power, telecom, banking, industrials and utilities sectors declined by 1.7% - 2.3%. FMCG, Healthcare, Auto, Capital Goods and Oil & Gas indices also ended notably lower. With scores of stocks from midcap and smallcap sections declining sharply, the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices ended lower by 1.5% and 1.4%, respectively.
Among Sensex stocks, Infosys gained 1.5% ahead of results. The IT major is scheduled to announce its second quarter results tomorrow. Tata Consultancy Services declined more than 2%, with investors pressing sales, expecting muted numbers from the company. Wipro ended flat.
ONGC gained about 1.4%. Maruti Suzuki, Cipla and Hero Motocorp closed higher.
Adani Ports, HDFC, ICICI Bank, Reliance Industries, Bharti Airtel and Tata Motors shed 3% - 5%. State Bank of India, Axis Bank, Lupin, Power Grid Corporation, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Bajaj Auto, Hindustan Unilever, HDFC Bank and NTPC lost 1.4% - 2.5%.
Bank of Baroda, Idea Cellular, Aurobindo Pharma, Tata Power, Hindalco, Zee Entertainment Enterprises and Tata Motor DVR declined by 3% - 5%. Grasim Industries, ACC, Yes Bank, Ambuja Cements, Bosch and BHEL also declined sharply.
IndusInd Bank, which opened on a firm note thanks to good results, retreated later and ended marginally down.
Sunil Hitech Engineers spurted, extending recent gains, after the company's board approved a bonus issue in the ratio of 1:1.
Granules India, IL&FS Engineering & Construction and KEC International saw some strong buying on stock specific news.
The market breadth was very weak. Out of 2980 stocks traded on BSE, 1912 stocks declined. 950 stocks moved up and 118 stocks ended flat.