The Nifty and the Sensex clock their biggest point fall since July 2009. File photo
Mumbai: Markets slumped 4.1% on Thursday in their biggest one-day slide in more than two years as investors fled risky assets across global markets on a grim US economic outlook and slowing manufacturing growth in China.
A sputtering US economy and headwinds from a European debt crisis could crimp foreign portfolio investments, while a sharp fall in the rupee will accelerate inflation pressures, traders said.
The selloff picked up pace after European stocks tumbled nearly 4%, with export-driven software services exporters such as Infosys , energy major Reliance Industires and banks among the big losers.
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“We are mimicking what is happening globally. Our markets will remain weak unless there is some recovery (in Europe),” Sailav Kaji, director of institutional equities at Padmakshi Financial Services, said.
The 30-share BSE index fell 4.13%, or 704 points, to 16,361.15, its lowest close in nearly one month. It was the biggest one-day%age fall since 6 July, 2009 with all of its components dropping.
World stocks as measured by MSCI fell more than 2.4% to a new year low, making for a 14% year-to-date loss.
The more volatile emerging markets stock index was down nearly 5% for a 22% 2011 loss.
The stocks slide sent the rupee skidding to its weakest in more than 26 months and triggered concerns about more pressure on inflation that has been running at more than 9% for months.
“We are net importers of crude and rupee-fall will bring in imported-inflation as all our crude imports are in dollar terms,” Kaji said.
The Reserve Bank of India had raised rates last week for the 12th time in 18 months and warned fighting stubbornly high inflation remained its priority even as economic growth was slowing.
Shares in Reliance Industries , which has the maximum weight on the main index, fell 6.1% in their biggest one-day fall since June 2009, after media reports the oil ministry may lower the company’s cost recovery at its key gas blocks off India’s east coast.
Earlier this month, India’s federal auditor had criticised the energy major and the government over development of natural gas field in the Krishna Godavari basin and called for revamping profit sharing arrangements from oil and gas blocks.
Software services bellwether Infosys shed 3.4% and bigger rival Tata Consultancy Services dropped 4.7%.
State Bank of India , the country’s largest lender, lost 3.6% and rival ICICI Bank fell 4.3%.
Other big losers included realty major DLF , which fell 7.2%, while infrastructure firm Jaiprakash Associates tumbled 9.3% on growth concerns.
The 50-share NSE index closed down 4.08% at 4,923.65 points. There were 10 losers for every gainer in the broader section on heavy volume of 625.4 million shares.
In Europe, where questions about the ability of the euro zone to manage some of its countries’ heavy debt remain, stocks losses amounted to a 20% loss for the year-to-date.
The FTSEurofirst 300 fell more than 4% while Japan’s Nikkei closed down 2.07%.
Astral Poly Technik rose as much as 20% after the company said it was in preliminary talks with US based Lubrizol Corp to set up a chlorinated poly vinyl chloride making plant.
Videocon Industries closed down 1% after initially rallying 3% following a oil and gas discovery in Brazil announced by the energy unit of the consumer electronics maker.