Markets extended their losses for the sixth successive session on Tuesday, with the benchmark Sensex falling by another 561 points to close at a one-month low of 34,195.94 amid a meltdown in the world markets.
Investors were also anxious ahead of the RBI policy meet outcome, while the post-Budget sell-off continued.
The start was distinctly weak as the markets went into a free-fall. The Sensex crashed by about 1,275 points to sink below the key 34,000-mark while the NSE Nifty plunged 390 points within minutes of opening.
After a gap down opening at 33,753.78, the BSE Sensex continued its slide to hit a low of 33,482.81 as selling gathered momentum in tandem with weak global leads.
However, value-buying emerged at several counters during the late trading session. The benchmark finally ended at 34,195.94, down 561.22 points, or 1.61 per cent.
This is its weakest closing since January 5 when the gauge had settled at 34,153.85.
The 50-share NSE Nifty too closed down 168.30 points, or 1.58 per cent, at 10,498.25 -- a level last seen on January 3 when it closed at 10,443.20.
Intra-day, it touched a low of 10,276.30 and a high of 10,594.15.
Sentiments suffered a jolt after other Asian markets closed in the red, tracking record-breaking losses at the Wall Street overnight as investors weigh the risks of more Federal Reserve interest rate hikes following strong economic data, brokers said.
According to provisional data, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs), who had been making persistent purchases, net sold shares worth Rs 1,263.57 crore, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 1,163.64 crore yesterday.