New Delhi: The Indian equity benchmarks continued to fall for the sixth straight session on Tuesday, tracking subdued global stocks. The benchmark BSE Sensex plunged more than 1,000 points to hit a day low of 56,410, while the broader NSE Nifty tanked over 300 points to hit an intraday low of 16,837. Both the indices recovered partially from the initial losses but stayed in red in early trade amid a highly volatile trading session. Asian shares and U.S. futures tumbled after a tumultuous Wall Street session overnight, with investors nervous about the situation in Ukraine and eyeing the U.S. Federal Reserve amid worries about a move to tighter monetary policy globally.
Back home, as of 10:50 am, the 30-share Sensex pack was down 505 points, or 0.88 per cent, at 56,987, and the broader NSE Nifty fell 130 points, or 0.76 per cent, to 17,019.
Mid- and small-cap shares were in the negative zone as the Nifty Midcap 100 index fell 1.19 per cent and small-cap shares were trading 1.06 per cent lower.
On the stock-specific front, Asian Paints was the top Nifty loser as the stock cracked 3.19 per cent to ₹ 3,054.60. Wipro, Divi's Lab, L & T, and Britannia were also among the laggards in opening deals.
The overall market breadth was weak as 664 shares were advancing while 2,057 were declining on the BSE.
On the 30-share BSE platform, Asian Paints, Wipro, Kotak Mahindra Bank, HDFC twins (HDFC and HDFC Bank) and Reliance Industries attracted the most losses, with their shares sliding as much as 3.13 percent.
Ukraine tensions: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) said it was putting forces on standby and reinforcing eastern Europe with more ships and fighter jets in what Russia denounced as Western "hysteria" in response to its build-up of troops on the Ukraine border.
Fed announcement The Federal Reserve will begin its two-day meeting later in the day, with investors starting to speculate that there is a small possibility that they will announce a surprise rate hike.
The Sensex crashed 1,546 points, or 2.62 per cent, to close at 57,492 on Monday, while the broader NSE Nifty settled 468 points, or 2.66 per cent, lower at 17,149.
It was the biggest single-session fall for both the Sensex and the Nifty since November 26.
Over the last five sessions, the 30-share Sensex has tumbled 3,817.4 points, or 6.22 per cent.