Distinctly weak global trends weighed on the local bourses as the benchmark Sensex fell by 165.42 points and registered its 40-month closing low of 8,160.40 on all-round selling by foreign funds and operators.
The market resumed on a sluggish note on the back of faltering Asian indices at the opening, which later ended in the red and remained in negative terrain throughout the day after a lower beginning in European markets, a broker said.
Sustained selling by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) continued to daunt market sentiment, he added.
The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share barometer ended at 8,160.40, a fall of 1.99 per cent over the previous close. Prior to this, it ended at 8,072.75 on November 2, 2005.
Similarly, the 50-issue Nifty of the National Stock Exchange also dipped by 47.00 points or 1.79 per cent to 2,573.15 from its last close.
Cautious operators preferred to book profits at the day's higher level due to two holidays on March 10 and 11 on account of "Id-E-Milad" and "Holi".
In Asia, the Hang Seng tumbled by 4.84 per cent, the Straits Times by 3.71 per cent, the Shanghai Composite by 3.39 per cent, the Nikkei by 1.21 per cent and the Taiwan Weighted by 0.55 per cent while only the Kospi ended higher by 1.58 per cent.
European markets like France were down by 2.08 per cent, Germany by 1.52 per cent and London by 1.44 per cent at their opening on concerns over the financial sector due to economic gloom.
Fears of political uncertainty after the forthcoming general elections, to be held in the next couple of months, and a continued fall in the rupee also affected the outlook.
FIIs have withdrawn nearly USD 2.2 billion in the year 2009 so far.
Satyam Computer today spurted by another 15.80 per cent after Friday's gain of nearly 20 per cent on news that the company started the competitive bidding process for selling a 51 per cent stake to an investor while Hinduja Group and engineering major Larsen & Toubro reiterated their interest in the company.
In the Sensex pack, Jaipra Asso dropped by 5.32 per cent, SBI by 4.68 per cent, DLF by 4.54 per cent, Ranbaxy by 4.46 per cent, Sun Pharma by 4.20 per cent, REL Com by 4.03 per cent, ITC by 4.00 per cent, TCS by 3.83 per cent, Hindalco by 3.56 per cent, Wipro by 3.49 per cent, HUL by 3.33 per cent and L&T by 3.16 per cent.
Among sectoral indices, only the BSE-Auto landed in positive territory at close while others lower between 1.03 per cent and 3.21 per cent.
Leading the downslide, the BSE-Realty plunged by 43.20 points or 3.21 per cent, BSE-FMCG by 51.54 points or 2.78 per cent, the Bankex by 103.86 points or 2.78 per cent, the BSE-IT by 47.03 points or 2.27 per cent.
The BSE small-cap, BSE mid-cap and BSE-realty indices touched their 52-week lows.
The market breadth was distinctly weak as 1,584 counters ended with losses against 798 gainers on the BSE.
The business volume dropped sharply to Rs 2,201.43 crore from Rs 3,338.60 crore on Friday. Satyam Computer topped the list of highest traded securities with a turnover of Rs 168.51 crore followed by ICICI Bank (Rs 132.83 crore), RIL (Rs 131.53 crore), Akruti (Rs 127.87 crore) and SBI (Rs 99.19 crore).
The BSE-100 index moved down by 81.73 points to 4,160.43 from 4,242.16 previously.