Equities succumbed to more aggressive selling today as renewed fears of growth slowdown on the back of worsening macro outlook pulled down the Nifty benchmark below the psychologically important 6,700 level on the National Stock Exchange (NSE).
Stubbornly high inflation and fading rate cut hopes and below-normal monsoon forecast hit the trading sentiment.
Finding no comfort in favourable economic data, domestic investors resorted to frantic selling in interest rate sensitive counters including energy, infra, auto, bank and healthcare stocks.
Technology stocks were hammered down sharply in today's session ahead of its earnings numbers and some concerns over valuations. FMCG stocks managed to withstood the carnage.
Despite a better start, the key indices soon slipped into negative terrain as cautious investors continued to take out profits after recent record-breaking rally and ahead of earnings season.
On the macro-front, both headline and retail inflation rebounded sharply in March after softening for three straight months since December, dashing hopes of any immediate monetary easing measures by the RBI to support the struggling economy.
Meanwhile, other Asian equity markets ended higher following upbeat growth report from the world's second biggest economy China, easing concerns over an abrupt slowdown.
The 50-share Nifty swung between a high of 6,748.65 and low of 6,665.15 before concluding at 6,675.30, a sharp loss of 57.80 points, or 0.86 per cent, over its last close.
DLF, BHEL, Tata Power, Infosys, L&T, Wipro, TCS, Ambuja Cement, IDFC and Heromotoco were among the top laggards.
Notable gainers included ITC, Hindalco, Lupin, Bank of Baroda, Jindal Steel, Tata Steel, Indusind Bank, Cairn, United Spirits and Maruti.
Turnover in the cash segment slipped to Rs 14,298.69 crore from Rs 14,304.11 crore yesterday. A total of 8,269.42 lakh shares changed hands in 70,73,949 trades, while market capitalisation stood at Rs 73,30,666 crore.