After holding in positive territory for close to three hours despite staying a bit choppy at times, the Indian stock market plunged sharply a little past noon with investors indulging in some heavy selling at several counters.
The Sensex, which tumbled to 27,532.81, losing nearly 150 points in the process, is now down 101.10 points or 0.37% at 27,572.50. The Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange is down 48.40 points or 0.56% at 8534.70, off the day's low of 8521.45.
Automobile stocks are down following a sharp hike in fuel prices. Mahindra & Mahindra is down by about 2.2%, Hero Motocorp is down 1.5%, Maruti Suzuki is declining 1.1% and Tata Motors is down 1%, while Bajaj Auto is losing nearly 1%. Eicher Motors is declining 2.7%.
HDFC Bank, Bharti Airtel, Asian Paints, HDFC, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Larsen & Toubro, Adani Ports and Reliance Industries are down 1% - 2%.
Idea Cellular, the biggest loser in the Nifty index, is down by about 3%. Hindalco, Tech Mahindra, Bosch, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, Ambuja Cements, Grasim Industries, ACC, UltraTech Cement, BHEL, Bank of Baroda, Kotak Bank, IndusInd Bank, Yes Bank and Aurobindo Pharma are down 1% - 2.5%.
Meanwhile, ICICI Bank is firm with a strong gain of 6% at Rs 257, after Essar Oil agreed to sell an oil unit to a consortium led by Russia's Rosneft. The Essar Group is expected to use the proceeds of the sale of its oil unit to cear some of its debts to the lenders. ICICI Bank is among the major lenders to Essar Group.
NTPC is trading higher by 1.1%. Coal India, Hindustan Unilever, Axis Bank, State Bank of India and Cipla are up with modest gains.