The Indian equity benchmarks extended losses in noon deals after staging a gap down opening on Wednesday. The Sensex fell as much as 800 points and Nifty 50 index dropped below 17,900 after relinquishing its important psychological level of 18,100 amid weak cues from global markets. 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.
Japan's Nikkei fell 2.8 per cent, Australia's S&P ASX 200 fell 1 per cent, DJ New Zealand tumbled 1.75 per cent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.3 per cent.
Overnight, on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 1.51 per cent, the S&P 500 fell 1.84 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 2.60 per cent to close almost 10 per cent below its record closing high on November 19, which would confirm a correction, news agency Reuters reported.
Back home, the 30-share Sensex was down 750 points at 60,023 and Nifty 50 index dropped 214 points or 1.18 per cent to 17,899 by 12:55 pm.
Infosys, ICICI Bank, HDFC, Bajaj Finance, Tata Consultancy Services, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Hindustan Unilever and Asian Paints were among the top drags on the Sensex. They collectively wiped out 450 points from the Sensex.
Selling pressure was broad-based as thirteen of 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower led by the Nifty IT index's 2 per cent fall. Nifty Bank, Financial Services, FMCG, Private bank, Realty and Healthcare indices also fell between 0.8-1.6 per cent.
On the other hand, Nifty Oil & Gas and Media indices were among the notable sectoral losers.
Mid- and small-cap shares were also witnessing selling pressure as Nifty Midcap 100 and Nifty Smallcap 100 indices fell 0.8 per cent.
Adani Ports, Bajaj Finance, Asian Paints, Grasim Industries, HDFC Life, JSW Steel, UltraTech Cement, HCL Technologies and Tata Consumer Products were top losers in the Nifty 50 basket of shares.
On the flipside, ONGC, Bajaj Auto, Coal India, Hero MotoCorp, Tata Motors, UPL, Indian Oil, Nestle and Reliance Industries were among the gainers.
The overall market breadth was extremely negative as 2,085 shares were declining while 1,236 were advancing on the BSE.