Equity benchmark Sensex slumped over 500 points in early trade on Thursday, tracking losses in index majors Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank and HUL as mounting COVID-19 cases in the country kept investors on edge.
After falling 501 points in the opening session, the 30-share BSE index was trading 463.36 points or 0.97 per cent lower at 47,242.44.
Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty tanked 130.10 points or 0.91 per cent to 14,166.30.
IndusInd Bank was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding over 3 per cent, followed by Asian Paints, Axis Bank, HUL, M&M, Tech Mahindra, Bajaj Finance, Reliance Industries and HDFC Bank.
On the other hand, Dr Reddy’s, Sun Pharma, ONGC, Infosys and HDFC were among the gainers.
In the previous session on Tuesday, Sensex slipped 243.62 points or 0.51 per cent to close the session at 47,705.80, an over two-month low. Likewise, Nifty ended at 14,296.40, showing a drop of 63.05 points or 0.44 per cent.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers in the capital market as they offloaded shares worth Rs 1,082.33 crore on Tuesday, according to provisional exchange data.
Stock exchanges were closed on Wednesday on account of ‘Ram Navami’.
According to V K Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services, a storm-like resurgence of COVID cases is impacting the economy as well as market sentiments. Localised lockdowns and severe restrictions on movements are sure to take a toll on the expected GDP growth for FY22.
"Uncertainty has impacted sentiments and the sustained selling by FIIs in April is a reflection of this concern," he noted.
Active COVID-19 cases in India stood at 22,91,428, up from 21,57,538 cases registered on Wednesday, according to Union Health Ministry data.
The oxygen crisis precipitated by the second wave which has left tens of thousands hospitalised appeared to intensify with complaints of shortage from several states.
Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo were trading on a positive note in mid-session deals, while Shanghai was in the red.
Bourses on Wall Street too ended with gains in overnight trade.
Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.40 per cent lower at USD 65.06 per barrel.