New Delhi: Market benchmark Sensex plunged by 330 points to 24,287.42 ahead of the release of GDP numbers for the third quarter as selling pressure intensified in the later half of the session on weak opening in European shares.

The BSE barometer opened on a flat note and remained sideways for most part of the session awaiting quarterly GDP numbers, but sank heavily on weakness in European equities.

Most markets in Asia, including China and Hong Kong, were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Meanwhile, the rupee depreciated by 27 paise to 67.91 during the day against the dollar. Investors also awaited the economic growth data and quarterly results from blue-chips scheduled later for the day. The BSE Sensex opened lower to stay in the negative zone for most part of the day and finally closed 329.55 points, or 1.34% down at 24,287.42. This was the index’s biggest single-day fall since 20 January. It had gained 393.65 points in the last two sessions.

The 50-share NSE Nifty cracked below the 7,400-mark by sliding 101.85 points, or 1.36%, at 7,387.25 after shuttling between 7,363.20 and 7,512.55.

Tata Motors was the worst hit, down 3.94%, followed by ITC at 2.72%. Other laggards included ONGC, Sun Pharma, TCS, Wipro, HDFC Bank, Infosys, HDFC, Hindustan Unilver Ltd and Mahindra and Mahindra.

However, Axis Bank, State Bank of India, Bharti Airtel, Lupin, GAIL, Maruti Suzuki, Adani Ports and Tata Steel ended higher. Shares of Jet Airways rallied by 8.5% after the leading Indian airline reported a record profit of 467.11 crore for the quarter ended 31 December, on the back of lower input costs.

Among BSE sectoral indices, IT suffered the most by falling 1.95%, followed by teck (1.60%), oil and gas (1.48%), FMCG (1.25%), auto (1.03%) and healthcare (0.99%). The broader markets also performed weak with the BSE mid-cap index falling 0.23% and small-cap shedding 0.02%. In overseas market, Japan’s Nikkei bounced back after early losses as most major Asian markets remained closed.

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