Mumbai: Stocks spiralled lower for the third straight session on Wednesday as wary investors pared their portfolios even as the rupee staged a recovery and global equities shrugged off the US-China trade tensions.
The BSE benchmark Sensex tumbled 169 points to end at a near two-month low of 37,121.22, while the broader NSE Nifty dropped 44.55 points to 11,234.35.
The 30-share Sensex has now lost about 970 points in three days, largely due to rupee woes, high crude oil prices, unabated foreign fund outflows and escalating trade tensions between the US and China.
Meanwhile, the rupee appreciated 49 paise intra-day against the dollar to 72.49.
Globally, Asian and European markets rose as investors wagered on a less-than-expected impact of the US-China trade conflict.
Stocks saw a positive start as the Sensex touched a high of 37,530.63 intra-day in tune with the rupee recovering from its record low.
However, the index turned weak in late-afternoon trade and closed lower by 169.45 points, or 0.45 per cent, at 37,121.22. This is its lowest closing since July 26 when it had finished at 36,984.64.
The NSE Nifty dropped 44.55 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 11,234.35. Intra-day, it shuttled between 11,332.05 and 11,210.90.
There were no signs of change in trading preference of foreign portfolio investors who net sold shares worth Rs 1,143.73 crore Tuesday. Domestic institutional investors (DIIs) picked up equities worth a net Rs 264.66 crore, according to provisional data.
Markets will remain closed Thursday on account of 'Muharram'.
"Despite favourable global cues and recovery in rupee, the domestic market continued to witness selling pressure due to higher oil price and yield. Additionally, flight of capital from domestic market in expectation of pickup in US economic growth and Fed rate hike impacted the sentiment.
"Market is likely to remain volatile considering higher oil price, widening CAD and upcoming RBI policy meet," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
IndusInd Bank was the top loser in the Sensex pack, sinking 3.03 per cent, followed by Maruti Suzuki at 2.30 per cent.
Other losers included HDFC Bank 1.58 per cent, Yes Bank 1.44 per cent, HDFC Ltd 1.35 per cent, Adani Ports 1.22, Bharti Airtel 1.03 per cent, HUL 0.97 per cent, ITC Ltd 0.97 per cent, SBI 0.95 per cent, RIL 0.57 per cent, NTPC 0.35 per cent, PowerGrid 0.25 per cent, Asian Paints 0.14 per cent and Vedanta 0.04 per cent.
In contrast, Coal India rose 2.60 per cent, ONGC 1.90 per cent, Tata Steel 1.31 per cent, Hero Motocorp 0.99 per cent, Sun Pharma 0.78 per cent, ICICI Bank 0.67 per cent and Bajaj Auto 0.56 per cent.
Sector-wise, the BSE FMCG index emerged as the worst performer by sliding 1.09 per cent, followed by finance 1.01 per cent, realty 0.96 per cent, consumer durables 0.80 per cent, healthcare 0.59 per cent, power 0.52 per cent, bankex 0.51 per cent and auto 0.42 per cent.
On the other hand, metal rose by 1.25 per cent, oil and gas 0.98 per cent, PSU 0.41 per cent, IT 0.15 per cent and teck 0.07 per cent.
In the broader markets, the BSE small-cap index tripped 0.98 per cent while the mid-cap gauge dropped 0.72 per cent.
Shares of asset management companies (AMC) came under selling pressure and lost up to 11.28 per cent after markets regulator Sebi decided to slash the charges levied by mutual funds from investors.
HDFC AMC plunged 8.55 per cent and Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management slumped 11.28 per cent.
In the Asian region, Hong Kong's Hang Seng surged 1.29 per cent, Shanghai Composite Index spurted 1.14 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei gained 1.08 per cent.
European stocks too were trading higher in late morning session. Paris CAC 40 was up 0.35 per cent while Frankfurt's DAX climbed 0.22 per cent. London's FTSE, however, shed 0.20 per cent.
US stocks were back in the recovery mode Tuesday as investors viewed the latest escalation of the US-China trade war as less consequential than feared.