Mumbai: The BSE benchmark Sensex Tuesday sank by 298 points to close at nearly two-month lows as steep fall in rupee almost killed rate cut hopes, amid 15 percent plunge in Jindal Steel due to fresh developments in the coal issue.
Tracking rupee which hit a new record low of 58.98 versus dollar intra-day, Sensex dropped by 320 points and Nifty breached 5,800-level at noon on panic selling. Consumer durables, metal, realty and banking sectors suffered.
While indices recovered a tad after rupee rebounded to 58.4 levels, a fresh spate of selling in last hour saw Sensex closing at 19,143, loss of 298.07 points, or 1.53 percent. This is the lowest closing since 19,016.46 on April 18.
"With continued turmoil in currency markets, any chance that the RBI might reduce rates after looking at the inflation data, is out of the window, as RBI cannot afford to further lower the yield on bonds," said HDFC Securities in a note.
Nifty ended at 5,788.80, down 89.20 points or 1.52 percent. MCX-SX flagship index SX-40 also closed 165.35 points, or 1.43 percent lower at 11,367.34.
Selling was so strong that all 13 BSE sectoral indices closed with losses between 0.59 percent and 6.36 percent. Across market, 3 stocks fell for every scrip that gained, translating to over Rs 1 lakh crore loss in investor wealth.
"Rupee's sudden depreciation has led to some outflows and correction in the equity markets as well," said Lalit Thakkar, MD -Institution, Angel Broking.
Jindal Steel, which crashed by 24 percent in early trade as Naveen Jindal and the company were named as accused in the fresh FIR filed by CBI in connection with the coal allocation scam, pared some losses to end Rs 226.35, down 15.18 percent.
ICICI Bank, HDFC, HDFC Bank and SBI ended 1-4 percent lower. Auto stocks - M&M, Tata Motors and Maruti - slid amid car sales falling for seventh month in May.
Weakness in global stocks was under pressure throughout the day. Disappointment over the Bank of Japan's failure to expand monetary stimulus for the country weighed on Asian markets, dealers said.
Most of the Asian stocks closed lower between 0.54 percent and 1.45 percent after the Bank of Japan kept the monetary policy unchanged. Mainland Chinese markets was closed today and will remain shut tomorrow on account of Dragon Boat Festival.
European markets too were quoting lower in their early trade, tracking weak Asian stocks and ahead of a two-day public hearing in Germany's constitutional court examining the legality of the ECB's bond-buying scheme. The CAC, the DAX and the FTSE were down between 1.08 percent and 1.58 percent.
Back home, 24 scrips out of the Sensex pack closed lower while 5 ended with gains and NTPC remained steady.
Other major losers were Hindalco (5.97 percent), Tata Power (5.87 percent), ONGC (3.91 percent), ICICI Bank (3.75 percent), M&M (3.11 percent), Tata Steel (3.06 percent), Coal India (2.58 percent) and Sterlite Ind. (2.57 percent).
HDFC (2.49 percent), Maruti Suzuki (1.97 percent), Bharti Airtel (1.92 percent), TCS (1.79 percent), HDFC Bank 1.73 percentt, Sun Pharma (1.57 percent), BHEL (1.41 percent) and Tata Motors (1.05 percent) also saw losses.
Among the sectoral indices, S&P BSE-CD plunged by 6.36 percent, followed by S&P BSE-Metal (4.13 percent), S&P BSE-Realty (3.68 percent), S&P BSE-Bankex (2.24 percent), S&P BSE-Power (2.07 percent), S&P BSE-PSU (2.04 percent), and S&P BSE-Oil&Gas (1.47 percent).
Brokerage IIFL feels rising current account deficit and inflation along with fears of an early rollback in stimulus may prevent RBI from cutting rates.
In consumer durables pack, Titan Industries was notable loser as it slumped by nearly 11 percent on massive selling.
Market breadth continued to remain weak as 1,691 stocks settled down while 670 finished up. Total turnover rose to 2,035.04 crore from Rs 1,526.89 crore yesterday.
Meanwhile, Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 114 crore yesterday, as per provisional data from the stock exchanges.