The Indian equity benchmarks ended sharply lower on Tuesday dragged by losses in auto, metal and information technology shares. The Sensex fell as much as 646 points and Nifty 50 index dropped below 18,100 at the day's lowest level. Investors were seen booking profits at higher levels in recent outperforming cement, IT and metal shares, analysts said.
The Sensex ended 554 points lower at 69,755 and Nifty 50 index declined 195 points to close at 18,113.
Selling pressure was broad-based as all the 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended lower led by the Nifty Realty index's 2.6 per cent fall. Nifty Auto, Information Technology, FMCG, Media, Metal, Pharma, PSU Bank, Healthcare and Consumer Durable indices also fell between 1.15-2.4 per cent.
Mid- and small-cap shares underperformed their larger peers as Nifty Midcap 100 and Nifty Smallcap 100 indices fell over 2 per cent each.
Among the individual shares, Prestige Estates jumped over 8 per cent after the company reported over a two-fold jump in sales bookings for the quarter ended December.
Tata Motors fell 2.7 per cent to close at Rs 510.95 after the company said it will increase prices of its passenger vehicles by an average of 0.9 per cent with effect from January 19, in order to partially offset the impact of rise in input costs.
Maruti Suzuki was top Nifty loser, the stock fell 4 per cent to close at Rs 7,929. Tata Consumer Products, Eicher Motors, Grasim Industries, Tech Mahindra, HCL Technologies, JSW Steel, UPL, Tata Motors, Tata Steel and Shree Cement also fell between 2.3-4 per cent.
On the flipside, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Dr Reddy's Labs, Nestle India and Kotak Mahindra Bank were among the notable gainers.
The overall market breadth was negative as 2,280 shares ended lower while 1,150 shares closed higher on the BSE.