The Indian equity benchmarks moved sharply lower on Wednesday a day after staging biggest single-day rally of the month in the previous session as investors turned to profit booking amid weak cues from other Asian markets. The Sensex fell as much as 575 points and Nifty 50 index dropped below its important psychological level of 15,500.
As of 9:35 am, the Sensex was down 560 points at 51,972 and Nifty 50 index fell 179 points to 15,459.
Asian stocks slipped in volatile trade on Wednesday, failing to extend Wall Street's rally as persistent worries about interest rates and inflation remained a key focus for investors, while the Japanese yen hit a fresh 24-year low against the dollar.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1%, but was still up 1.39% on the more than five-week low it hit on Monday. Tokyo's Nikkei gave up early gains and was flat.
Investors are continuing to assess how worried they need to be about central banks pushing the world economy into recession as they attempt to curtail red hot inflation with interest rate increases.
The main U.S. share benchmarks rose 2% overnight on the possibility the economic outlook might not be as dire as thought during trade last week when the S&P 500 logged its biggest weekly percentage decline since March 2020, news agency Reuters reported.
Back home, thirteen of 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower led by the Nifty Metal index's over 3 per cent fall. Nifty Oil & Gas, Bank, Financial Services, Private Bank and Consumer Durable indices also fell between 1-2 per cent.
On the other hand, select FMCG and pharma shares were witnessing buying interest.
Mid- and small-cap shares were also facing selling pressure as Nifty Midcap 100 index fell 1.15 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index declined 0.8 per cent.
Among the individual shares, Jain irrigation Systems rose as much as 14 per cent to Rs 42.75 after the company on Tuesday said its global irrigation business will be merged with Temasek-owned Rivulis in a cash-and-stock deal, a move that will help the company reduce its consolidated debt by Rs 2,700 crore or around 45 per cent.
Jain Irrigation's global irrigation business has been valued at Rs 4,200 crore, of which Rs 2,700 crore will be used to repay its all overseas debt and Rs 200 crore will come to the parent company, its Managing Director Anil Jain told reporters.
Hindalco was top Nifty loser, the stock fell 5 per cent to Rs 322. ONGC, Bajaj Finserv, Tata Steel, UPL, JSW Steel, Bajaj Finance, IndusInd Bank, Axis Bank, Tech Mahindra, Adani Ports and Bharti Airtel also fell between 1.9-4 per cent.
On the flipside, Bajaj Auto, Dr Reddy's Labs, Hero MotoCorp, Maruti Suzuki, Hindustan Unilever and Britannia were among the notable gainers.
The overall market breadth was negative as 1,624 shares were declining while 897 were advancing on the BSE.