The Indian equity benchmarks on Monday plunged in opening deals, taking cues from the global markets. US stock futures traded lower as the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis, and rising inflation dented investor sentiment. A surge in crude oil prices also kept investors on edge.
Trends on the Nifty Futures on Singapore Exchange (SGX Nifty) also indicated a gap-down start for the domestic indices amid the corporate earnings season.
Further, market participants awaited the wholesale-price index (WPI) inflation figure, scheduled to be released later in the day. The retail (consumer price-based) inflation had hit a 17-month high of 6.95 per cent in March.
Brent futures were up $1.50, or 1.3 per cent, at $113.20 a barrel, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures rose 98 cents, or 0.9 per cent, to $107.93 a barrel on tighter global supply concerns.
Back home, the 30-share BSE Sensex crashed 1,048 points or 1.79 per cent to 57,281 in early trade, while the broader NSE Nifty moved 178 points or 1.59 per cent down to 17,198.
Mid- and small-cap shares were weak as Nifty Midcap 100 fell 1.47 per cent and small-cap shed 1.36 per cent.
11 out of the 15 sector gauges — compiled by the National Stock Exchange — were trading in the red. Nifty IT and Nifty Financial Services were underperforming the index by falling as much as 2.97 per cent and 1.87 per cent, respectively.
On the stock-specific front, Infosys was the top loser as the stock cracked 6 per cent to Rs 1,643.55. Tech Mahindra, HDFC twins (HDFC and HDFC Bank) and Tech Mahindra were also among the losers.
The overall market breadth stood negative as 1,018 shares were advancing while 1,846 were declining on BSE.
On the 30-share BSE index, Infosys, TechM, HDFC twins, Kotak Mahindra Bank and TCS were among the top laggards.
In contrast, NTPC, Tata Steel, M&M, Maruti, PowerGrid and Hindustan Unilever were trading in the green. Tata Steel surged as much as 1.44 per cent after its board announced that it will consider a proposal to split the stock on May 3.
Sensex had tanked 237 points or 0.41 per cent to close at 58,339 on Wednesday, while Nifty had moved 55 points or 0.31 per cent lower to settle at 17,476. The indices reopened today after a gap of four straight days.