Mumbai: Market benchmark Sensex resumed its downward spiral today by nosediving 418 points to close at over 20-month low of 24,062.04, tracking massive sell-off in global indexes on growth worries, while oil again dipped below the USD 28-level.
With this, the index has fallen to the weakest level since since May 16, 2014, the day the new government won a landslide mandate in general elections.
The rupee, meanwhile, breached the 68-mark during intraday against the dollar for the first time since September 4, 2013.
The 30-share Sensex after opening lower at 24,325.77, continued to slide and cracked the 24,000-mark to hit a low of 23,839.76. However, on fag-end buying, the index managed to close above 24,000-level at 24,062.04, still down 417.80 points or 1.71 per cent.
The gauge had gained 291.47 points in the previous session backed up by value-buying in select blue-chips.
The NSE Nifty after cracking the crucial 7,300-mark, settled 125.80 points or 1.69 per cent down at 7,309.30.
Intra-day, it shuttled between 7,241.50 and 7,470.90.
Markets fell on persistent foreign fund outflows and sustained selling by retail investors, tracking weak trend in Asian and European indexes and oil prices again falling below USD 28 a barrel after International Monetary Fund slashed its global growth forecast.
Shares of heavyweight Reliance Industries today fell by 3.76 per cent to close at Rs 1,004.35 despite posting its highest-ever quarterly net profit of Rs 7,290 crore for the three months period ended December.
Other prominent laggard among the 30 Sensex stocks were Adani Ports, SBI, Coal India, Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, NTPC, ONGC, ICICI Bank and Hind Unilever.
Out of the 30-share Sensex pack, 27 fell, while only Bajaj Auto, Hero MotoCorp and Wipro managed to eke out minor gains.
Sectorwise, BSE realty index suffered the most by falling 3.49 per cent, followed by metal 3.08 per cent, PSU (2.66 pc), power (2.39 pc), banking (2.35 pc) and oil&gas (2.31 pc).
In broader markets, small-cap index fell by 2.04 per cent, while mid-cap ended 2.01 per cent lower.
Among other Asian markets, Shanghai ended 1.03 per cent down, Hong Kong's Hang Seng dived 3.82 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei ended 3.71 per cent lower. European markets slide to a 13-month low on investor concern over global growth prospects.