The 30-share BSE sensex fell 949 points or 1.65 per cent to close at 56,747. While, the broader NSE Nifty settled 284 points or 1.65 per cent lower at 16,912.
Top losers in the sensex pack included IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Finserv, Bharti Airtel, TCS, HCL Tech and Tech Mahindra with their shares falling as much as 3.75 per cent. All 30 shares finished in red.
On the NSE platform, all sub-indices ended lower with Nifty IT, Pharma, Auto and FMCG falling up to 2.7 per cent.
Both indexes posted their lowest close since August 27.
Here are the top reasons behind today’s fall:
* New cases of Omicron variant
The rising cases of Omicron variant has made investors wary. India’s tally of reported cases of the heavily mutated variant rose to 12 on Sunday after Maharashtra said it had detected seven new cases.
International markets are likely to slow down on Omicron concerns and domestic markets are expected to follow suit for some more time as there are no fresh positive triggers, Anita Gandhi, director at Arihant Capital Markets told news agency Reuters.
* Broad-based selling
All sectoral indices witnessed heavy selloff.
The Nifty IT index which is up about 44 per cent for the year, fell nearly 3 per cent and marked its worst day in nearly two months.
Index heavyweights Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Infosys fell 2.9 per cent and 2.3 per cent, respectively.
The Nifty realty index gave up early gains to close 1.4 per cent lower, while the Nifty auto index slipped 1.8 per cent on muted November sales.
All sub-indices on the NSE fell more than 1 per cent.
* Investors eye RBI MPC meet
Investors are also awaiting a central bank decision that could leave interest rates on hold to sustain an economic recovery from the pandemic lows in 2020.
The three-day monetary policy committee meeting of India’s central bank starts on Monday. According to a Reuters poll of economists, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will hold rates at its December meeting and hike its reverse repo rate early next year and increase repo rate the following quarter.
While the RBI is expected to maintain status quo on the interest rate policy, investors will watch out for commentary from the central bank to get direction.
* Hong Kong stocks ended at 14-month low
Hong Kong shares closed at a fourteen-month month low, dragged by tech giants that tracked losses on Wall Street, while China Evergrande Group hit a record low.
Chinese regulators scrambled to reassure investors after Evergrande, one of China’s biggest developers, said it may run out of money to “perform its financial obligations” as it struggles to comply with pressure to reduce its $310 billion in debt.
The worry is that unsustainable levels of debt in the property sector might trigger a financial crisis. China wants to avoid a bailout but also is unlikely to let the situation deteriorate to the point where problems would cascade to that level.
A number of real estate companies have run into trouble as the government has pushed to reduce debt levels, but officials have issued statements saying China’s financial system is strong and default rates are low. Most developers are financially healthy and Beijing will keep lending markets functioning, the most recent statements said.
(With inputs from agencies)