Retreating from record highs, the benchmark BSE Sensex plunged 518 points, its worst drop in 10 months, on massive profit-booking across sectors even as Railway Budget proposed attracting FDI in infrastructure projects.
After gaining 276.33 points in previous two days to close above the 26,000 level, the BSE Sensex succumbed to profit-booking in recent gainers and closed 517.97 points, or 1.98 per cent, lower at 25,582.11. Intra-day, it hit a new record high of 26,190.44 but failed to maintain the levels.
Today's drop was the biggest since the 651-point crash on September 3, 2013.
Yesterday, the 30-share benchmark index had ended at its new closing peak of 26,100.08 after touching high of 26123.55.
Among the Sensex constituents today, 28 ended lower. BHEL (8.16 pc), NTPC (5.36 pc), Tata Power (5.04 pc) and Coal India (4.96 pc) led the laggards in bluechips. ONGC, RIL, GAIL, SBI, Axis Bank, Bajaj Auto, Dr Reddy, Hero Moto, Tata Steel and Hindalco were among those counters that slumped.
The NSE Nifty, after breaching the 7,800 mark to scale an all-time high of 7,808.85 at the outset, succumbed to masssive profit-booking to close 163.95 points, or 2.11 per cent, down at 7,623.20. It had gained over 72 points in past two days.
Share prices of companies that cater to the railway sector came under pressure and some logged losses of up to 20 per cent despite important announcements made by Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda in his maiden rail budget.
Prominent losers included shares of Texmaco Rail, Titagarh Wagons, Kalindee Rail Nirman and Container Corp.
"As Railway Budget for FY15 gets over, focus will now shift to Union Budget to be presented on July 10. Market volatility is likely to continue in this week, as Budget highlights shall be impacting sector specific action," said Nidhi Saraswat, Senior Research Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio.
Besides, a weak Asian trend and lower opening in Europe dampened the trading sentiments.
Foreign Portfolio Investors bought shares worth a net Rs 198.57 crore yesterday, as per provisional data.
Sectorally, the BSE Realty index suffered the most by losing 7.16 per cent, followed by Power index which fell 6.37 per cent. The thematic PSU index also fell 4.92 per cent.
Selling activity also gathered momentum in small and mid-cap sector stocks. Small-cap index lost 4.19 per cent