Investors on Friday lost a staggering Rs 50,000 crore (Rs 500 billion) in the stock markets as prices of most of the blue-chip shares fell sharply pulling down the Sensex by 220 points, the single largest fall since May 2004.
The plunge, triggered by a global meltdown in tandem with IT major Infosys' disappointing outlook for the first quarter, led to a near crisis in the market with 30-scrip BSE Index accounting for nearly half of the erosion in the market capitalisation of all the companies at the stock exchange.
Prominent among the losers at the day long trading included Infosys, Wipro and SAIL (all of them shedding over six per cent of their share prices) as the index fell to 11-week low of 6246.34 as against Wednesday's close of 6467.92.
In the downcast market the volume of business was relatively low at Rs 1808.92 crore (Rs 18.09 billion) compared to Rs 1828.84 crore (Rs18.29 billion) on Wednesday.
While Infosys share price fell by Rs 145.70 to Rs 1956.60, Wipro shares fell by Rs 40.60 to Rs 605.35 and RIL dropped by Rs 15.75 to Rs 529.70.
The fall could have been steeper had it not been for some support from the domestic financial institutions but it appeared feeble in the face of selling intensity, a broker said.
The total m-cap at BSE plunged by Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 18,82,779 crore (18,827.79 billion) while the value of Sensex scrips fell by Rs 24,000 crore (Rs 240 billion) to Rs 6,98,666 crore (Rs 6986.66 billion).
The BSE-200 Index nosedived to 841.38 from the previous close of 867.43 while Dollex-200 were quoted sharply down at 319.60 compared to previous close of 330.10.
The BSE-500 Index fell by 80.48 points to 2664.81 from Wednesday's close of 2745.29 and the Dollex-30 ended lower at 1170.41 from 1213.75.
Among the sectoral indices, the BSE-IT Index nosedived by 160.20 points to 2434.47 from the previous close of 2594.67, the Bankex by 115.77 points to 3771.08 from 3886.85 and the BSE-Metal Index by 291.35 points or 4.67 per cent to 5947.98 from 6239.33.
Foreign institutional investors as well as local investors were heavy sellers especially in IT counters and other blue-chip scrips like ONGC, Reliance Industries, SBI, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Bajaj Auto, Grasim and Hindalco.
The rise in inflation to 5.26 per cent from 5.05 per cent also added fuel to fire.
The main reason for the market crash was the meltdown in global equities market. Among the Asian markets, Nikkei of Japan ended 192 points lower and Hang Seng shed 133 points.
London Stock Exchange's FTSE was down by 34.60 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index on Thursday ended lower by 27.66 points.