Indian equity benchmarks on Monday plunged sharply in afternoon deals, dragged by heavy selling pressure in information technology (IT) stocks. 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.
The wholesale price index (WPI) inflation figure rose to 14.55 per cent in March. The figure has stayed in double-digits for the 12th straight month. Another set of government data released last week showed that 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 today, 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 1,467 points or 2.51 per cent to 56,872 in afternoon trade, while the broader NSE Nifty moved 391 points or 2.24 per cent down to 17,085.
The market capitalisation of BSE-listed firms tumbled Rs 4.52 lakh crore to Rs 2,67,50,666.29 crore.
Mid- and small-cap shares were weak as Nifty Midcap 100 fell 1.82 per cent and small-cap shed 1.79 per cent.
14 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 4.19 per cent and 2.60 per cent, respectively.
On the stock-specific front, Infosys was the top loser as the stock cracked 7.84 per cent to Rs 1,609.75. Tech Mahindra, HDFC twins (HDFC and HDFC Bank) and Apollo Hospitals were also among the losers.
The overall market breadth stood negative as 1,191 shares were advancing while 2,250 were declining on BSE.
On the 30-share BSE index, Infosys, TechM, HDFC twins, Wipro, TCS, HCL Tech, Bajaj Finserv and Kotak Mahindra Bank were among the top laggards.
In contrast, NTPC, Tata Steel, Nestle India, Hindustan Unilever, M&M and Maruti were trading in the green. Tata Steel surged as much as 1.61 per cent after its board announced that it would 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.