Equity benchmark Sensex plummeted 1,170 points on Monday, dragged by losses in Reliance Industries, Bajaj Finance and Kotak Bank. The 30-share BSE index ended 1,170.12 points or 1.96 per cent lower at 58,465.89. Similarly, the NSE Nifty fell 348.25 points or 1.96 per cent to 17,416.55.
Among top losers, Reliance Industries (RIL) sank over 4 per cent, after the company shelved a proposed deal to sell a 20 per cent stake in its oil refinery and petrochemical business to Saudi Aramco for an asking of USD 15 billion. Other laggards included Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Finserv, NTPC, SBI and Titan. On the other hand, Bharti Airtel, Asian Paints, PowerGrid and IndusInd Bank were the gainers.
"Finally the bears got their act together after a long wait as a series of events over the weekend gave them the upper hand with almost all the sectoral indices barring the metal index plunging," said S Ranganathan, Head of Research at LKP Securities.
The repealing of the agriculture laws had an impact on the PSU stocks while the O2C deal not going through left a 4.5 per cent cut on Reliance, he noted. Further, he said that even as IPO investors come to terms with the reality, the inflationary impact on demand across several sectors continues to worry the street.
"High growth expectations have been built into the stock market valuations for quite some time now. And if these expectations don't materialise soon enough, we may see further downward pressure on prices. From a valuations perspective, the broader market is already quite expensive. The only thing holding it up was hopes of a quick recovery in corporate earnings. Any delay there or any bad news on that front and there could be more downside in the offing," Rahul Shah, co-head of Research at Equitymaster, said.
Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Hong Kong ended with losses, while Tokyo, Shanghai and Seoul were positive. Stock exchanges in Europe were largely positive in mid-session deals. Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude rose 0.34 per cent to USD 79.16 per barrel.