A day after key benchmark indices bounced back sharply in a major relief rally, domestic stocks once again faced the bear onslot today, as a culmination of weak global markets sentiment, worsening Chinese economic scenario and a tumbling rupee triggered massive wide-spread selling, pulling down the benchmark Sensex below the 24,000-mark.
Intra-day, the Sensex crashed 640 points to the day's low of 23,839.76, the level last seen since May 16, 2014 when the ruling NDA government came to power. Although, the markets trimmed some losses on selective buying towards the close, the Sensex managed to end above the 24,000-mark at 24,062.04, down 417.80 points, or 1.7 percent from previous close. Yesterday, the index tracking recovery in other global markets, rose 292 points.
The broader 50-stock CNX Nifty, too, closed lower at 7,309.30, down 125.80 points, or 1.7 percent.
Market breadth was extremely disappointing as losers outpaced gainers by over 3:1, with 2,105 stocks declining against 511 advances on BSE.
Since December 31, the Sensex has so far lost a whopping 2,055.50 points, or 7.9 percent, mainly on the back of a persisting capital pull out by overseas investors. In the current month so far, FIIs have offloaded shares worth Rs 7,489 crore from the local markets, maintaining its bearish stance for the third straight month.
In tandem with the fall in domestic equities, currency markets, too, faced downward pressure with rupee breaching the 68 per dollar mark to touch a low of 68.12 a dollar, its weakest since September 4, 2013 and close to a record low of 68.85 hit in August of the same year.
Traders said the rapid depreciation in rupee is attributed to the slumping global crude prices and volatility in China's markets whose annual growth in 2015 slipped below the 7 percent market for the first time in last 25 years.
However, experts seem really not worried this time round. "I think the RBI would generally be comfortable with the way the currency is behaving," Rahul Bajoria, regional economist with Barclays in Singapore, was quoted as saying in a Reuters report.
He expects the central bank to let the rupee depreciate in a controlled manner, especially if the dollar continues to strengthen.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei dropped 3.7 percent, while China's Hang Seng slumped 3.8 percent and Shanghai Composite was down 1 percent. All the three European gauges were down over 3 percent mirroring the weak global markets cues.
Among the laggards, shares of Adani Ports plunged 5.5 percent to Rs 219.55, SBI dropped 5.1 percent to Rs 173.70, Reliance Industries declined 3.8 percent to Rs 1,004.35, Coal India shed 3.4 percent to Rs 297.95 and Maruti eased 3.4 percent to Rs 4,058.90.