Mumbai: Stocks and the rupee logged their biggest drop in over four months after crude oil prices surged due to the unrest in Iraq but gold provided investors some succour as the precious metal rose in the Rs 350-390 range in prominent metro cities on Friday.
The 30-share S&P BSE benchmark Sensex tanked 348.04 points, or 1.36 per cent, to end at 25,228.17 and NSE 50-share Nifty dropped 107.80 points, or 1.41 per cent, to 7,542.10.
Friday's drop in the two equity benchmarks was their biggest since January 27, 2014 when the Sensex fell by 426.11 points and the Nifty slipped by 130.90 points.
Interestingly, the Sensex and the Nifty have fallen for the fifth straight time on a Friday that falls on the 13th. 'Friday the 13th' is considered an unlucky day by some.
Crude prices extended the previous day's rally to sit at nine-month highs after militants closed in on Iraq's capital Baghdad, fuelling fears over supplies from the crude producer.
US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, advanced 73 cents to USD 107.26 in late-morning trade after surging USD 2.13 in New York yesterday to reach its highest level since September.
"Markets ended the week with a big fall on Friday. Crude price concerns caused by the geo-political concerns in Iraq marred sentiments in the markets," said Dipen Shah, Head- Private Client Group Research, Kotak Securities.
In the forex market, the rupee on Friday depreciated 52 paise to end at 59.77 against dollar -- logging its sharpest daily fall since January 24, 2014 when it had dipped by 73 paise.
The rupee has now depreciated on a Friday that falls on the 13th for the third time in as many occasions.
Gold, however, regained its sheen with prices rising by about Rs 350-390 range per ten grams in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. It had surged to two-week high levels in global markets amid increased demand from stockists.
In addition, a depreciating rupee in the forex market, which makes imports costlier, also influenced gold prices.
Key indices in China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore firmed up in 0.01-0.93 percent range while indices in South Korea and Taiwan moved down by 0.09 percent to 1.03 percent.
European market baromoters were trading lower in their early trade. Key indices in France, Germany and the UK moved down by 0.67 percent to 0.76 percent.
Meanwhile, India's Sensex finished the week down 168.29 points or 0.66 percent after rising a whopping 1179.12 points in the week ago.
"Markets ended the week with a big fall. Oil price concerns caused by geo-political concerns in Iraq marred sentiments. Several stocks, which had a heady run over past few weeks, fell sharply. Going ahead, we see monsoon progress and Budget to be the two key triggers," said Dipen Shah, Head- Private Client Group Research, Kotak Securities.
Going ahead, some experts see the weakness persisting on Monday as well. The Nifty witnessed its biggest loss in about four and a half months today. On January 27, it had dropped by 130.90 points.
"Considering Friday's close, we may see further decline in Nifty on Monday and 7450 spot is the next crucial support in Nifty," said Jayant Manglik, President-retail distribution, Religare Securities.
Major Sensex losers were Axis Bank (4.48 percent), Hero Motocorp (4.42 percent), Tata Steel (4.40 percent), NTPC (4.30 per cent), Hindalco (3.94 percent), Gail (3.57 per cent), SBI (3.25 percent) and Tata Power (3.09 per cent).
Maruti Suzuki (3.03 percent), BHEL (2.66 percent), Tata Motors (2.64 percent), Bharti Airtel (2.50 percent), ICICI Bank (2.08 percent), L&T (1.93 percent), ONGC (1.45 percent) and RIL (1.16 percent) also fell, among others.
Among BSE sectoral indices, Realty dropped by 5.24 per cent, Power 3.53 percent, Consumer Durable 3.21 percent, Metal 3.01 percent, Banking 2.31 percent, Capital Goods 2.08 percent, Oil&Gas 1.90 percent and Auto 1.71 percent.
Total market breadth turned negative as 2,166 stocks closed with losses while 935 finished with gains. Total turnover moved up further to Rs 5,272.07 crore from Rs 5,177.14 crore on Thursday.