Falling for the third straight session, the BSE benchmark Sensex today plunged by 260 points to close at nearly three-week low of 25,329.14 on selling pressure sparked by escalating geopolitical tensions after US President Barack Obama authorised air strikes in Iraq.
The Indian rupee slumping to five-month low of 61.74 (intra-day) against the US dollar and rising global crude prices too impacted the trading sentiment.
After opening lower at 25,406.87, the 30-share Sensex dipped to 25,232.82 at one point before ending the day at 25,329.14, down 259.87 points or 1.02 per cent, from its previous close.
The BSE barometer had lost 319 points in the previous two sessions.
The 50-share NSE Nifty dipped below the 7,600 mark by plunging 80.70 points, or 1.06 per cent, to end at 7,568.55.
Brokers said sentiments turned weak on foreign capital outflows that took weak cues from on worsening geopolitical tensions and the rupee slumping to five-month low amidst rising crude oil prices.
Globally, major stocks markets in Asia fell in the range of 1-2 per cent, while most of the European markets were down over 1 per cent in early trade as global sell-off spread.
Extending downtrend for the third consecutive day, Bhushan Steel shares slumped 10 per cent to hit its lowest trading permissible limit for the day of Rs 219.35 on the BSE after the CBI arrested Neeraj Singal, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the company, in connection with Rs 50 lakh bribery scandal involving Syndicate Bank.
Shares of state-run State Bank of India ended 0.68 per cent lower at Rs 2,420.50 after bank posted a marginal 3.3 per cent increase in net profit for the quarter ended June 30.
Recent outperformers such as realty, metal, power, capital goods, PSUs, IT, Infrastructure, consumer durables, banking, auto and oil and gas stocks saw profit booking.
Out of the 30-share Sensex, 24 stocks closed with losses and six counters ended higher.
Sector-wise, the BSE Realty index suffered the most today by plunging 3.86 per cent, followed by Metal index (3.15 per cent), Power index (2.92 per cent), Capital goods index (2.50 per cent), PSU index (2.24 per cent) and Consumer durables index (1.62 per cent).
Meanwhile, Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 73.07 crores yesterday, as per provisional data from the stock exchanges.