Mumbai: The BSE Sensex crashed nearly 788 points Monday, its worst session in about six months, as crude oil prices soared due to US-Iran tensions in the Middle East and investors fled to safe haven assets.
At the closing bell, 30-share Sensex finished at 40,676.63, down 1.90 per cent or 787.98 points--the biggest single-day drop since July 8. Similarly, the 50-scrip NSE Nifty closed at 11,993.05, falling by 1.91 per cent or 233.60 points.
On the Sensex chart, Bajaj Finance was the top loser, dropping 4.63 per cent, followed by SBI, IndusInd Bank, Maruti, HDFC, Hero MotoCorp, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank and Reliance Industries. Only Titan and PowerGrid bucked the trend.
All sectoral indices ended in the red, with the BSE metal, finance, realty, bankex, energy, auto, oil and gas, capital goods and healthcare indices cracking up to 2.96 per cent. The broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices slumped up to 2.31 per cent.
Apart from crude prices, a sharply weaker Indian currency is also weighed down equities. The Indian rupee dropped 13 paise to close at 71.93 against the US dollar amid a rise in the crude benchmark Brent Futures, quoted last at USD 69.64 per barrel -- an increase of 1.37 per cent in price.
Analysts said the Indian market is reacting more negatively than other emerging markets due to the crude oil impact. Since India's dependence on crude imports as a percentage of consumption is the highest.
"Investors are closing their current positions and shifting to safe haven assets, whihc is leading to a rise in bond yields, oil and gold prices," Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services, said.
Hemang Kapasi, Portfolio Manager - Equity Investment Products, Sanctum Wealth, said, "Investors have turned cautious because of uncertainties and have taken refuge in gold which is visible from sudden jump in gold prices."