The Indian equity benchmarks resumed decline after a day's pause in the previous sesion dragged by losses in index heavyweights like Bajaj Finance, ICICI Bank, Infosys, Bajaj Finserv, State Bank of India and Larsen & Toubro. The Sensex fell as much as 773 points and Nifty 50 index briefly fell below its important psychological level of 17,000 at the day's lowest level. amid weak global cues.
The Sensex fell 537 points to close at 56,819 and Nifty 50 index declined 162 points to end at 17,038.
Asian shares retreated on Wednesday, echoing a broad decline on Wall Street and driven by worries about how the war in Ukraine may push prices for oil and other commodities higher.
Tokyo’s benchmark rose after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced measures to help poor families and small businesses as the nation copes with rising prices and a weakening currency.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped 1.9 per cent.
Back home, selling pressure was broad-based as all the 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended lower led by the Nifty Financial Services index's nearly 2 per cent decline. Nifty Oil & Gas, Consumer Durables, Private Bank, Bank, Auto, FMCG and IT indices also declined between 0.5-1 per cent.
Mid- and small-cap shares also faced selling pressure as Nifty Midcap 100 and Smallcap 100 indexes declined over 0.5 per cent each.
Meanwhile, the government announced details of much-awaited initial public offering of Life Insurance Corporation of India, the country's biggest IPO ever. The government is selling 3.5 per cent stake in the insurance behemoth to raise Rs 21,000 crore. The IPO is priced in the range of Rs 902-949 per share and will open on May 4 and close on May 9. Retail investors are being offered a discount of Rs 45 per share while policyholders who apply for shares in the IPO will get a discount of Rs 60 per share.
Bajaj Finance was top Nifty loser, the stock fell 7 per cent to close at Rs 6,716 despite reporting highest ever quarterly profit in March quarter. The Pune-based NBFC reported net profit of Rs 2,420 crore, marking an increase of 80 per cent from Rs 1,347 crore in the year ago period.
Bajaj Finserv, Tata Consumer Products, Shree Cements, Adani Ports, ICICI Bank, Coal India, Apollo Tyres, Dr Reddy's labs, SBI Life, Wipro and Bharat Petroleum also fell between 1.7-4 per cent.
On the flipside, Hero MotoCorp, Tata Steel, Asian Paints, HCL Technologies, Eicher Motors, TCS and Divi's Labs were among the gainers.
The overall market breadth was negative as 2,194 shares ended lower while 1,175 closed higher on the BSE.