Mumbai, Mar 14: The Sensex today crashed by 453.36 points on the Bombay Stock Exchange to end in the red at 12,529.62 under the weight of extremely weak global markets.
Among the broader markets, the Nifty Index of the NSE also plunged by 147.55 points to settle at a low of 3623.00 from its previous close of 3770.55 points.
''The market suffered a setback today on the back of weak global markets. Bourses around the globe found themselves in the line of fire amid concerns about the subprime mortgage market in the United States. Consequently, Index heavyweights declined sharply. IT, telecom and banking shares were at the forefront of the decline.
However, cement and auto shares pared their intra-day losses,'' market analysts said.
US stocks yesterday plunged in their second-worst sell-off for the year. The impact of losses in the subprime mortgage group was felt across the financial sector, knocking down shares of investment banks and traditional lenders.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 242.66 points, to end at 12,075.96. The Standard&Poor's 500 Index slid 28.65 points, to 1,377.95. The Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 51.72 points, to settle at 2,350.57. Meanwhile, Asian shares slumped today, tracking heavy losses on Wall Street on fears about an intensifying crisis in US mortgage lending that spooked investors still nursing losses from a sharp sell-off two weeks ago.
Key benchmark indices in Hong Kong, Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan were down between 1.4 - 3 per cent. The yen held gains, after soaring to near a three-month high versus the dollar, as the latest jitters prompted investors to close out trades funded by cheap loans in the Japanese currency.
The latest jolt for the domestic and global bourses comes at a time when they had just shown signs of a recovery from a slide which began in end-February 2007. Steep losses in Chinese stocks, combined with worries about slowing US growth, had sparked a worldwide flight from riskier assets.
The sharp setback in global markets in late-February 2007, had driven some investors to cut carry trades, where they borrow cheaply in Japan and invest in countries with higher yields.
At the BSE, the market-breadth was weak. Against 1,798 shares that declined, 751 rose. Just 66 shares were unchanged. Losers outpaced gainers by a ratio of 2.39:1. It clocked a turnover of Rs 4284 crore. Selling was conspicuous in IT shares. Wipro lost 4.6 per cent to Rs 555, Infosys shed 4 per cent to Rs 2017 and TCS lost 4.3 per cent to Rs 1210.
Bank shares edged lower. ICICI Bank plunged nearly 6 per cent to Rs 825.60, State Bank of India lost 3.7 per cent to Rs 944.10 and HDFC Bank lost 2.6 per cent to Rs 934.
Telecom shares drifted lower. Reliance Communications dropped 4.7 per cent to Rs 396.80, and Bharti Airtel shed nearly 5 per cent to Rs 727.20.
Reliance Industries dropped 3.3 per cent to Rs 1282. They had claimed earlier that the company had made two new gas discoveries in blocks located off the East Coast blocks. While one strike is in the Krishna-Godavari basin, the second find is located in the Mahanadi basin, off the Andhra coast.
Cement pivotals pared losses. Gujarat Ambuja Cements ended down 0.2 per cent to Rs 102.65, off the session's low of Rs 99.80.
Volumes in the stock were substantial, at 27.6 lakh shares on BSE.
ACC was down 0.9 per cent to Rs 743.05, and off the session's low of Rs 708. Cement shares have caved in after firms last week agreed not to raise prices of the key construction material for one year, to cooperate with the government's efforts against inflation.
Bajaj Auto rose 0.4 per cent to Rs 2529.90, off the session's low of Rs 2451.05. A strong 1.4 lakh shares changed hands in the counter on BSE. Maruti Udyog (MUL) was down 1.7 per cent to Rs 790, off the session's low of Rs 746.40. The government has initiated the process of divesting its residual 10.27 per cent stake in (MUL).
ITC lost almost 4 per cent to Rs 143.10, extending its recent fall on concern that the government may bring cigarettes under the Value Added Tax (VAT) net.