The Indian equity benchmarks edged lower on Friday dragged by losses in HDFC Bank, HDFC, Reliance Industries, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank and Tata Consultancy Services amid weak global cues. The Sensex fell as much as 595 points and Nifty 50 index dropped below its important level of 17,500. Most of the Asian markets were trading lower with Japan's Nikkei fell 0.6 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1 per cent and South Korea's KOSPI fell 0.4 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Indian rupee continued its downward move as it fell to record low of 81.14 against the US dollar following strength in the greenback which surged to two decade high after US Fed hiked interest rates by 75 basis points on Wednesday.
As of 9:34 am, the Sensex fell 523 points to 58,596 and Nifty 50 index dropped 160 points to 17,470.
Selling pressure was broad based as nine of 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower led by the Nifty Bank index's over 1 per cent decline. Nifty PSU Bank, Private Bank, Oil & Gas, Financial Services and Auto indices also fell between 0.4-1 per cent each.
On the other hand, pharma, FMCG, metal and healthcare shares were witnessing buying interest.
Broader markets were also facing selling pressure as Nifty Midcap 100 index declined 0.4 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index fell 0.11 per cent.
IndusInd Bank was top Nifty loser, the stock fell 2 per cent to Rs 1,191. Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, HDFC, Axis Bank, Tech Mahindra, Power Grid, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Hindalco, HDFC Bank and Apollo Hospitals also fell between 1.5-2 per cent.
On the flipside, Tata Steel was among the top Nifty gainers, the stock rose nearly 2 per cent after it announced merger of six subsidiaries with itself.
"The Board of Directors of Tata Steel considered and approved schemes for the proposed amalgamation of six subsidiaries into and with Tata Steel," the statement issued by Tata Steel said.
The subsidiaries are Tata Steel Long Products Limited in which Tata Steel holds 74.91 per cent equity, The Tinplate Company of India Limited (74.96 per cent), Tata Metaliks Limited (60.03 per cent), The Indian Steel & Wire Products Limited (95.01 per cent equity holding), Tata Steel Mining Limited and S & T Mining Company Limited (both wholly-owned subsidiaries).
Cipla, Apollo Hospitals, Divis Labs, Hindustan Unilever and Infosys were also among the losers.
The overall market breadth was negative as 1,536 shares were declining while 1,210 were advancing on the BSE.