Mumbai: Market benchmark Sensex heavily lost ground Wednesday and slumped by 262 points to hit a 21-month low despite firm European equities and positive US index futures as domestic lenders came under heavy selling pressure after posting disappointing quarterly numbers.
The NSE Nifty also fell to its lowest level in 21 months.
Country's largest lender SBI fell by 4.82 percent to Rs 158.95 ahead of its financial results, while banks-based index on BSE slipped by more than 2 percent.
Meanwhile, Finance Ministry today attributed the fall in domestic equities to turmoil in global economy and said the government is taking measures to address the challenges.
"The continuous surge in yen and gold is keeping investors on the toes, while a surprise uptick in the European market has provided some intermediate deviation from the low," said Vinod Nair, Head-Fundamental Research at Geojit BNP Paribas.
Weak Asian cues, however, continued to spoil the mood.
The BSE Sensex resumed lower at 23,938.32 and fell further to 23,636.72 before concluding at almost 21-month low of 23,758.90, showing a loss of 262.08 points or 1.09 percent. The index had ended at 23,551.00 on May 12, 2014.
The NSE Nifty also dropped by 82.50 points or 1.13 percent to close at nearly 21-month low of 7,215.70. It had closed at 7,203 on May 16, 2014.
Hit by mounting bad loans, three public sector banks, Central Bank of India, Allahabad Bank and Dena Bank yesterday reported losses while Punjab National Bank posted a sharp decline in profit for the third quarter of 2015-16.
PNB slumped by 9 percent, Central Bank sank 12.37 percent, Allahabad Bank shed 9.61 percent while was down 5.20 percent.
"The road ahead looks jittery with the upercentoming Budget and the deepening slowdown in the rest of the world," Nair added.
Overseas, Asian markets ended weak as concerns mount over global recession. Japan's Nikkei ended with losses of 2.31 percent adding to the 5.41 percent plunge on Tuesday. Singapore Straight Times also finished lower by 1.57 percent.
European equities were higher after dropping for seven straight sessions. Key indices like France, Germany and the UK rose by 0.93 percentt to 2.11 percent.
The US index futures were higher ahead of the start of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's testimony before Congress Wednesday.
Back home, 23 scrips out of the 30-share Sensex pack ended lower.
Major losers were Tata Motors (6.04 percent), SBI (4.82 percent), Adani Ports (3.57 percent), HDFC (3.24 percent), Cipla (3.17 percent), BHEL (2.55 percent), Dr Reddy's (2.46 percent), Lupin (2.16 percent), ONGC (2.01 percent), Axis Bank (1.80 percent), Hero MotoCorp (1.25 percent), ITC (1.22 percent), HDFC Bank (1.18 percent) and Asian Paints (1.03 percent).
However, Coal India rose by 1.57 percent followed by L&T 0.73 percent, Maruti 0.72 percent and RIL 0.61 percent.
Among the BSE sectorial and industrials indices, realty fell by (3.46 percent), finance (2.16 percent), banking (2.04 percent), industrials (1.92 percent), healthcare (1.55 percent), FMCG (1.37 percent), auto (1.18 percent), telecom (0.98 percent), oil&gas (0.75 percent), power (0.67 percent) and capital goods (0.65 percent).
In broader markets, mid-cap and small-cap indices ended 0.95 percent and 1.42 percent lower, respectively.
The market breadth remained negative as 1,995 shares ended lower, 653 advanced, while 105 ruled steady of the total 2,753 stocks traded.
The total turnover rose to Rs 2,925.40 crore from Rs 2,199.32 crore yesterday.