Mumbai - The benchmark BSE Sensex extended losses for a fourth straight day as it fell by over 330 points while the NSE Nifty dipped below the 7,700 level in early deals as further sell-off in China forced the market to halt trading for the second time this week.
In addition, weakness in the rupee against the American currency too weighed on the sentiment. The Indian unit was trading at 66.91 against the dollar, down 9 paise from yesterday's close.Asian markets were in deep red with Shanghai shares crashing 7.32 per cent, forcing authorities to suspend trading, less than half an hour after opening.
The fall came amid worries over slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy, which have roiled investors worldwide, and with pressure on its currency from capital outflows.
China's central bank today lowered the yuan against the US dollar by 0.51 percent to 6.5646, the lowest since March 2011.
At 11:00 am, the 30-share Sensex was down 346 points or 1.36 percent, at 25,057.93. The index had fallen below 25,000 earlier, hitting 24991.24.
All the sectoral indices led by metal, capital goods and auto were trading in the negative zone with losses up to 2.7 percent. The gauge had lost 754.57 points in the previous three consecutive sessions.
The NSE Nifty cracked below the 7,700-mark by slumping more than 100 points or 1.3 per cent to 7,637. Major losers that dragged down the indices were Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Maruti Suzuki, Axis Bank, BHEL, ONGC, ICICI Bank, Adani Ports, M&M and Dr Reddy's.
Brokers said sentiment remained weak as investors indulged in offloading their positions, tracking a weak trend overseas on a slew of negative factors, including crude oil slumping to multi-year lows.
Besides, overnight losses in the US markets hurt sentiment, they added.
In other Asian markets, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index was down 3.05 per cent while Japan's Nikkei shed 1.78 per cent in early trade today.
The US Dow Jones ended 1.47 per cent lower in yesterday's trade on more signs of a Chinese economic slowdown and a North Korean announcement that it completed a hydrogen bomb test.