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Indian equity benchmarks tumbled around two percent each in their worst single-day loss in seven months on Monday. A sell-off across sectors, led by financial, oil & gas, automobile and IT shares, pulled the headline indices lower. Broader markets also tanked, with the midcap and smallcap gauges falling around three percent each.
The Sensex index shed 1,170.1 points to end at 58,465.9 and the broader Nifty50 benchmark settled at 17,416.6, down 348.3 points from its previous close -- the worst single-day fall for both since April.
The market crash comes at a time when equity benchmarks have broken a series of records in a near one-sided rally in the past 18 months. Many foreign brokerages have lowered their ratings on Indian equities citing expensive valuations.
The Bajaj twins, Tata Motors, Reliance Industries, NTPC, Indian Oil, SBI and Titan, closing between 3.3 percent and 5.6 percent lower, were among the 41 laggards in the Nifty50 pack.
On the other hand, Bharti Airtel shares ended 3.7 percent higher, and were the biggest support for both headline indices. The stock bucked the overall weak trend after the private sector telecom operator announced a tariff hike effective November 26. Among other gainers in the 50-member pack were JSW Steel, Asian Paints and Power Grid, up 0.7 between percent and 1.6 percent.
Reliance Industries shares fell 4.4 percent to Rs 2,363.4 apiece after the conglomerate announced it had decided to re-evaluate the deal under which Saudi Aramco was to invest roughly $15 billion investment in its oil-to-chemicals (O2C) business.
Paytm parent One97 Communications' shares suffered sharp losses for yet another day following a weak listing, dampening retail investors' sentiment. The stock ended 13 percent lower at Rs 1,360.3 apiece on BSE, a discount of 36.7 percent to the issue price.
"The subdued listing and the continuation of weak trading of Paytm, India’s largest new generation fintech, is a big sentimental setback to the domestic market, which was thriving on the strong primary market. It will impact the inflow of money from the retail segment, which has been a key player during the year," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.
In the midcap and smallcap barometers, Indian Bank, Oil India, Jubilant Ingrevia and IDBI Bank -- down 7.5-10.3 percent -- were among the top losers. On the other hand, Vodafone Idea, Emami, Trident and Tanla -- up 2.8-6.5 percent -- were among the gainers.
As many as 445 stocks in the BSE 500 index -- the broadest gauge on BSE -- finished the day with cuts.
"Indicators are pointing towards a further slide in the Nifty with the next major support at 17,100. Participants should align their positions accordingly," said Ajit Mishra, VP-Research at Religare Broking.
Meanwhile, European stocks gave up initial gains to edge lower as traders weighed the likely impact of fresh European COVID-19 restrictions on economic prospects. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was marginally lower at the last count.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.2 percent, suggesting a positive opening ahead on Wall Street.