The Indian equity benchmarks moved sharply lower on Friday dragged by losses in index heavyweights like Infosys, HDFC Bank, Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank, Tata Consultancy Services, Bajaj Finance, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Axis Bank amid weak global cues. The Sensex fell as much as 844 points and Nifty 50 index dropped below its important psychological level of 17,550.
As of 3:01 pm, the Sensex dropped 617 points to 58,847 and Nifty 50 index tumbled 202 points to 17,555.
Asian share markets and U.S. futures fell on Friday, after U.S. stocks took a knock overnight, hurt by lingering concerns over the Federal Reserve's tightening and weaker-than-expected economic and earnings data.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.8 per cent, and Japan's Nikkei slid 1.66 per cent. Oil prices fell sharply and were on track for their first weekly loss this year.
Overnight, The Nasdaq dropped late in the U.S. session, to close 1.3 per cent lower, as investors anxiously await the Fed's policy meeting next week for details on how it intends to tackle inflation.
Nasdaq futures were down 1 per cent in Asian trading, hurt by Netflix Inc forecasting weak first-quarter subscriber growth after the close, news agency Reuters reported.
Back home, selling pressure was broad-based as all the 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading higher led by the Nifty PSU Bank index's nearly 2 per cent decline. Nifty Pharma, Realty, Healthcare, Private Bank, Metal, Information Technology, Financial Services and Bank indices also fell over 1 per cent each.
Mid- and small-cap shares were also facing selling pressure as Nifty Midcap 100 index dropped 0.95 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index fell 0.84 per cent.
Kotak Mahindra Bank was top Nifty loser, the stock fell nearly 2 per cent to Rs 1,856. Titan, Shree Cements, Adani Ports, Sun Pharma, IndusInd Bank, Infosys, Cipla, State Bank of India, Wipro, HDFC Life, ICICI Bank and SBI Life also fell between 1-3 per cent.
On the flipside, Hindustan Unilever, Power Grid, Bharat Petroleum, Mahindra & Mahindra, Hindalco, NTPC, Hero MotoCorp and Asian Paints were among the notable gainers.
The overall market breadth was negative as 1,781 shares were declining while 1,108 were advancing on the BSE.