The Indian equity benchmarks staged a gap down opening on Monday with the Sensex dropping over 550 points and Nifty dropping below its important psychological level of 16,900 as investors confidence was dented by rising Omicron cases while banking shares saw a selloff after corporate governance issues surfaced at private sector lender RBL Bank. Meanwhile, other Asian markets were also trading lower as uncertainty over the economic impact of the Omicron coronavirus variant weighed on investor sentiment, news agency Reuters reported.
Japan's Nikkei lost 0.20 per cent while South Korea's Kospi fell 0.11 per cent.
Mainland Chinese shares, though, were mixed, with Shanghai's benchmark sliding 0.37 per cent but an index of blue chips edged 0.05 per cent higher.
Back home, the Sensex was down 564 points at 56,585 and Nifty 50 index fell 136 points to 16,868 by 9:22 am.
Selling pressure was broad-based as thirteen of 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower led by the Nifty Realty index's over 1.6 per cent fall. Nifty Private Bank, PSU Bank, Bank, Oil & Gas, FMCG, Metal, Media and Financial Services indices also fell between 0.5-1.4 per cent.
On the other hand, Pharma and Healthcare shares were witnessing buying interest.
Mid- and small-cap shares were also facing selling pressure as Nifty Midcap 100 index fell 0.56 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index declined 0.4 per cent.
Among the individual shares, RBL Bank plunged as much as 15 per cent to hit an intraday low of Rs 147 after corporate governance issues surfaced at the bank. Vishwavir Ahuja, the bank's MD and CEO went on a medical leave following the appointment of an additional director by the RBI on the bank. The Reserve Bank of India has appointed Yogesh Dayal as an Additional Director on the Board of the Bank for a period of two years till December 23, 2023. Meanwhile, Rajeev Ahuja (existing Executive Director of the Bank) was appointed as the Interim Managing Director & CEO of the Bank.
IndusInd Bank was top Nifty loser, the stock fell 4.23 per cent to Rs 825. Bajaj Finance, Eicher Motors, Asian Paints, Hindalco, Bajaj Finserv, Tata Consumer Products, JSW Steel, Maruti Suzuki, Coal India, Tata Steel, Titan, Shree Cements and Bharat Petroleum also fell 1-2 per cent.
On the flipside, Cipla, Mahindra & Mahindra, Dr Reddy's Labs, Power Grid, Sun Pharma, HDFC and Divi's Labs were among the notable gainers.
The overall market breadth was neutral as 1,452 shares were advancing while 1,453 were declining on the BSE.