Mumbai, Aug 21 (IANS) A benchmark index of Indian equities markets closed Wednesday's trade below the 18,000-mark, as the rupee continued its free-fall hitting a new low of 64.52 against a dollar.
The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 18,545.44 points, ended the day's trade at 17,905.91 points, down 340.13 points or 1.86 percent from the previous day's close at 18,246.04 points.
After an initial fillip in the pre-noon session, the Sensex ranged between a high of 18,567.70 points and a low of 17,807.19 in Wednesday's trade.
The rupee, savaged by large dollar demands from banks and importers, has plunged to new lows for the fourth session in a row.
The partially-convertible rupee slipped to a new record low of 64.52 against a dollar at the inter-bank foreign exchange market here, surpassing its previous record low of 64.13 hit Tuesday.
Almost all the stocks, except consumer durables and bank sectors, closed in red.
Selling pressure was observed in oil and gas, metal, healthcare, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and information technology (IT) sectors; while only consumer durables and bank sectors were trading in green.
The S&P BSE oil and gas index plunged by 284.05 points, metal index slipped by 269.41 points, healthcare index dipped by 224.27 points, FMCG index went down by 201.11 points, automobile index was down 156.21 points and IT index closed 155.09 points lower.
However, BSE bank index was up 51.50 points followed by consumer durables index up 41.40 points.
The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed the day's trade 98.90 points or 1.83 percent down at 5,302.55 points.