According to market observers, caution ahead of the US Federal Open Market Committee policy meet outcome Wednesday evening (India time), along with a weak rupee, hampered the risk-taking appetite of investors.
MSCI's broadest dollar-denominated index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.5 percent.
The 30-share barometer Sensex lost 236 points in the intraday trade to mark a day's low of 32,164.42 points. BSE small- and mid-cap indices dwarfed the benchmarks, rising to new highs with gains of 0.36 per cent and 0.13 per cent, respectively.
At 10:53am, the Sensex was down 155.26 points or 0.48% at 32,245.25, and the Nifty fell 56.95 points or 0.56% at 10,084.20, from previous close.
The US Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.19 per cent higher in yesterday's trade.
The BSE market breadth was bearish with 1,581 declines and 993 advances. "Investors could now be eyeing GST rate revisions and updates on GST implementation in petroleum products to take the next crucial step", said Anand James, Chief Market Strategist, Geojit Financial Services Ltd.
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At the Interbank Foreign Exchange (Forex) market, the rupee opened with a gap-down at 64.50 against Wednesday's finish of 64.27 tracking overnight global developments.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) remained net sellers in the past several sessions, offloading equities worth Rs 1,185.40 crore.
The breakneck selloff escalated as trading progressed with the local unit hitting a fresh intra-day low of 64.84 in mid-afternoon deals. It closed at Rs 847.10 per share - up 0.85 per cent.
The BSE realty index was the biggest drag, down 2.28 per cent. Consumer durables, PSU and banking indices too weighed while healthcare and IT indices ended higher.
Major Sensex losers were: Tata Motors (DVR), down 2.14 per cent at Rs 233.25; ICICI Bank, down 1.99 per cent at Rs 285; Axis Bank, down 1.37 per cent at Rs 512.25; Coal India, down 1.09 per cent at Rs 253.60; and ONGC, down 0.93 per cent at Rs 166.
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