In a massive fall that engulfed the world equity markets, Indian shares mirrored the bearish sentiment mainly battered by continuing concerns about a global economic slowdown and disappointing quarterly earnings from the PSU banking entities.
With currency market also maintaining the downward trajectory and rupee tumbling 40 paise or 0.59% to 68.25 against the dollar, panic-stricken investors sold shares in hordes, thereby pulling down the Sensex below the 23,000-mark for first time since 9 May 2014.
The 30-share BSE S&P Sensex finally wrapped up the session at 22,951.83, down 807.07 points, or 3.40 percent. Today's correction was the biggest single day fall in last six months when the index tanked 1,625 points on 24 August 2015.
The broader 50-stock CNX Nifty closed below the 7,000-mark at 6,976.35, down 239.35 points or 3.3 percent.
Intra-day, the Sensex plunged 850 points to a low of 22,909.12. Including Thursday's fall, the Sensex has crashed a whopping 1,665.15 points, or 6.8 percent in four sessions this week.
In fact, Thursday's free-fall wiped out Rs 3.13 lakh crore of investors' wealth, while in four sessions market-cap tumbled by a steep Rs 6.68 lakh crore to Rs 86.36 lakh crore on the BSE.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei tumbled 2.3 percent, while China's Hang Seng plunged 3.8 percent. Key European indices, too, witnessed southward journey dropping over 2-3 percent in their mid-day trades.
With global commodity markets roiled by depleting crude prices, investors see crude prices falling below $25 a barrel in near-term on stagnant demand and supply glut. Also, the US Fed on Wednesday did not provide any further clarity on the possible interest rate movements further adding pessimism to the overall bearish market mood.
In addition, foreign institutional investors remained net sellers of domestic equities and have offloaded Rs 1,804 crore in the current month so far, while pulling out Rs 13,275 crore in the year.
"Apart from global economic woes, poor results from PSU banking entities in last two days has put investors in a fix. Since banking sector has direct corelation to the economy, the poor numbers reflect some pain in the economy going ahead. Until the time, the government and the RBI comes out with some soothing measures, the downward trend in the markets may continue," said G Chokkalingam, founder & managing director with Equinomics Research & Advisory.
Among the laggards in the Sensex pack, shares of Adani Ports tanked nearly 7 percent to Rs 188.50, BHEL plunged 6 percent to Rs 120.35, Tata Motors crashed 5.5 percent to Rs 275.65 and ONGC dropped 5.2 percent to Rs 202.80. Other Sensex stocks ended over 1-4 percent lower.
Several banking stocks came under severe hammering as disappointing quarterly earnings and rising NPA woes prompted to trim their holdings.
"Quarterly results declared over the past few days have also not met up to the muted expectations and that also impacted sentiments," said Dipen Shah, senior vice-president & head of private client group research, Kotak Securities
"Going ahead, global concerns will remain at the centre-stage and will likely dictate market sentiments. On the domestic front, we need to closely watch the budget where the FM has a difficult task of supporting growth while maintaining fiscal prudence," said Shah.
Shares of State Bank of India dropped 3 percent to Rs 154.20, after the the country's largest bank posted 61 percent on year fall in net profit at Rs 1,115 crore due to steep rise in provision it had to make for bad loans.
Among other banking laggards, shares of Kotak Mahindra Bank tumbled 5.7 percent to Rs 628.90, PNB fell 4 percent to Rs 76.75, Axis Bank lost 4 percent to Rs 377.50, ICICI Bank declined 3.8 percent to Rs 199.35 and HDFC Bank was down 3.7 percent at Rs 976.05.
With inputs from Kishor Kadam