Mumbai: Equity benchmark indices closed over 2.5 per cent lower on Thursday amid weak global cues after US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned of extended economic weakness due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Besides, a top World Health Organisation official said the virus may never go away.
The sentiment remained weak despite a slew of announcements made by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman a day earlier targeting various sectors to offset the economic impact of COVID-19. Market analysts said most of the measures were in the form of credit guarantees.
The BSE S&P Sensex closed 886 points or 2.77 per cent lower at 31,123 while the Nifty 50 edged lower by 241 points or 2.57 per cent at 9,143.
Except for Nifty FMCG and pharma, all sectoral indices at the National Stock Exchange were in the negative zone with Nifty IT down by 3.5 per cent, financial service by 3.3 per cent, PSU bank by 2.6 per cent and realty by 1.8 per cent.
Among stocks, IT major Tech Mahindra and Infosys retreated by 5.3 per cent each while index heavyweight Reliance Industries lost by 4 per cent to close at Rs 1,436.60 per share.
Hindalco and JSW Steel dropped by 4.8 per cent and 4 per cent respectively while Tata Motors skidded by 3.8 per cent. The other major losers were HDFC, IndusInd Bank, GAIL and Power Grid Corporation.
However, those which gained were Bharti Infratel, Hero MotoCorp, Larsen & Toubro and UltraTech Cements.
Meanwhile, Asia's stock markets fell as worries about the second wave of coronavirus infections dashed hopes for a quick recovery.
US Fed Chair Jerome Powell warned of an extended period of weak economic growth and called for additional fiscal spending to stem the fallout from the pandemic.
Japan's Nikkei fell by 1.74 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng by 1.45 per cent and South Korea's Kospi by 0.8 per cent.
Overnight, Wall Street's three major indexes closed lower for the second day in a row.