Mumbai: The BSE Sensex plunged nearly 273 points to close at a three-week low of 35,217.11 on Wednesday while the Nifty finished below the 10,700-mark on widespread selling by investors rattled by higher crude prices and a weakening rupee.
The Indian currency hit one-and-a-half year lows against the US dollar intra-day amid persistent foreign capital outflows from emerging markets. The 30-share Sensex opened in the green and hit a high of 35,618.85, but soon turned weaker on heavy selling. It finally ended at 35,217.11, down 272.93 points, or 0.77 per cent. This is its lowest closing since June 6, when it had settled at 35,178.88.
The wider NSE Nifty touched a low of 10,652.40 before finishing lower by 97.75 points, or 0.91 per cent at 10,671.40. Sentiment took another hit after the Reserve Bank of India, in its Financial Stability Report (FSR) yesterday, said stress in the banking sector continues as gross non-performing assets (GNPA) ratio rises further.
State-run lenders came under heavy selling pressure, with PNB, Bank of Baroda, SBI, Syndicate Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and Union Bank of India falling up to 6.61 per cent. The June month expiry in the derivatives segment tomorrow also forced investors to adopt a cautious stance.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth Rs 538.40 crore, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought shares worth Rs 238.05 crore yesterday, as per provisional data.
Most Asian markets, led by China, ended lower as jitters over trade conflicts between the US and other major economies lingered.