Mumbai: Equity benchmark indices traded nearly 1.5 per cent lower during early hours 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.
A day earlier, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman gave out break-up for a part of the Rs 20 lakh crore economic stimulus announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But that did not seem to cheer investors.
At 10:15 am, the BSE S&P Sensex was down by 497 points or 1.55 per cent at 31,512 while the Nifty 50 edged lower by 136 points or 1.45 per cent at 9,248.
Except for Nifty FMCG and pharma, all sectoral indices at the National Stock Exchange were in the negative zone with Nifty IT down by 2.3 per cent, auto by 1.6 per cent and financial service by 1.4 per cent.
Among stocks, Tata Motors lost by 4 per cent to Rs 83.70 per share and Mahindra & Mahindra dropped by 3.7 per cent to Rs 397.80.
IT major Infosys retreated by 3.6 per cent, Tech Mahindra by 3 per cent, and private lenders IndusInd Bank and HDFC Bank by 2.7 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively.
The other major losers were NTPC, Power Grid Corporation, Hindalco and GAIL. However, those which gained were Bajaj Finance, Nestle India, Britannia, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Sun Pharma and Hindustan Unilever.
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.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan fell by 1 per cent while Japan's Nikkei fell about 0.7 per cent. Benchmark indexes in Hong Kong, South Korea and China too dropped by about 1 per cent.
Overnight, Wall Street's three major indexes closed lower for the second day in a row.