The Sensex and the Nifty50 continued to fall for the fourth session in a row, as trading resumed after two market holidays. Losses in heavyweights HDFC Bank and Infosys were the biggest contributors to the fall in both main gauges.
Indian equity benchmarks extended losses to a fourth straight session on Monday to their lowest closing levels in at least three weeks. Financial and IT shares were the biggest drags for both headline indices, led by a fall in HDFC Bank and Infosys -- both of which reported their quarterly earnings last week, though gains in select auto, metal and FMCG shares lent some support.
The 30-scrip Sensex fell 1,172.2 points or two percent to end at 57,166.7 -- its lowest since March 16, and the broader Nifty50 benchmark shed 292.7 points or 1.7 percent to settle at 17,183 -- its lowest since March 25.
Among blue-chip stocks, Infosys, HDFC, HDFC Bank, Tech Mahindra, Apollo Hospitals, TCS and Wipro -- closing between 3.3 percent and 7.2 percent lower -- were the top laggards.
On the other hand, NTPC, SBI Life, HDFC Life, Tata Steel, Maruti Suzuki, Titan and Cipla -- rising between 1.3 percent and 6.4 percent -- rose the most among the 24 gainers in the Nifty50 basket.
Infosys, the HDFC twins, TCS and Tech Mahindra accounted for a loss of more than 1,000 points on the Sensex.
The India VIX -- known in market parlance as the fear gauge -- rose 8.7 percent to settle at 19.3 for the day, having risen to a more than two-week high of 20.5 during the session.
The Nifty IT was the worst hit among NSE's sectoral indices, falling 4.6 percent in its worst single-day fall since February 24.
Infosys shares fell by Rs 127.2 or 7.3 percent to close at Rs 1,621.5, after the country's second largest software exporter reported a disappointing set of earnings last week.
Mindtree shares fell 3.4 percent as investors awaited the IT company's earnings announcement due later in the day.
HDFC Bank shares dropped by Rs 69.5 or 4.7 percent to Rs 1,395.4 for the day. The Nifty Bank slumped two percent.
Broader markets also weakened, with the Nifty Midcap 100 and Nifty Smallcap 100 indices falling more than one percent each.
In the midcap and smallcap segments, Alok, Cera Sanitary, Birlasoft and Phillips Carbon -- falling around 6-9 percent -- were among the top losers. On the other hand, Bharat Dynamics, Mahindra Holiday, NLC and Cochin Shipyard -- rising 3-16 percent -- were among the gainers.
Overall market breadth was in favour of the bears, with an advance-decline ratio of 2:3 as 848 stocks rose and 1,290 fell on NSE.
Equities in other Asian markets fell as investors placed cautious bets coming out of a holiday-extended weekend. The focus remained on the prospect of aggressive hikes in pandemic-era interest rates, and the Russia-Ukraine war, which is in its eighth week.
European markets were closed for the Easter holiday.
S&P 500 futures were down half a percent at the last count, suggesting a negative start ahead on Wall Street.