The Indian equity benchmarks ended sharply lower for second straight session on Wednesday and suffered their biggest single-day loss in January on the back of weak global cues as investor sentiment took a knock globally after a drone attack on UAE's Adnoc pushed crude prices higher and equity markets down across the world, analysts said. The benchmarks staged a gap down opening and extended losses wherein the Sensex fell as much as 805 points and Nifty 50 index briefly dropped below its important psychological level of 17,900.
The Sensex dropped 656 points to close at 60,098.82 and Nifty 50 index declined 175 points or 0.96 per cent to end at 17,938.
"The market witnessed correction after a failed attempt to hold the support level around the Nifty 50 Index level of 18,000. Market research suggests, 17,850-17,900 will be an important support level from a short-term perspective. If Nifty sustains above 17,850-17,900 levels, it can bounce back to levels of 18200. Technical indicator suggests, a volatile movement in the market in the range of 17,850-18,200," said Vijay Dhanotiya, Category Lead- HNI Products at CapitalVia Global Research Limited.
Ten of 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended lower led by Information technology index's over 2 per cent decline. Nifty Financial Services, Private Bank, Healthcare and Bank indices also fell between 0.4-1.1 per cent.
On the other hand, PSU Banking, media, metal, oil & gas, and auto shares witnessed buying interest.
Mid- and small-cap shares outperformed their larger peers as Nifty Midcap 100 and Nifty Smallcap 100 indices ended on a flat note.
Infosys was top Nifty loser, the stock fell nearly 3 per cent to Rs 1,865. Shree Cement, Asian Paints, Adani Ports, Hindustan Unilever, Grasim Industries, Bajaj Finance, HDFC Life, Nestle India, Kotak Mahindra Bank and TCS also fell between 1.7-2.8 per cent.
On the flipside, ONGC, Tata Motors, UPL, Coal India, Maruti Suzuki, State Bank of India, Hindalco, Bajaj Auto, Tata Steel, Indian Oil and Axis Bank were among top gainers in the Nifty 50 basket of shares.
The overall market breadth was marginally negative as 1,579 shares ended higher while 1,827 closed lower on the BSE.