Markets bore the brunt of a worsening global risk environment as the benchmark BSE Sensex on Wednesday snapped its 2-day rally and fell almost 382 points to close at over a 2-month low of 25,482.52.
In addition, lacklustre September quarterly earnings kept investors cautious, who looked forward to US Fed minutes of the last policy meeting to decide on their future course of action.
Bouts of profit-booking following recent gains and sustained capital outflows dampened stocks further, brokers said.
Hit by heavy selling in blue-chips, the BSE Sensex stayed in the negative zone for most part of the day and closed down 381.95 points, or 1.48 per cent, at 25,482.52 -- a level last seen on September 8.
The 50-share NSE Nifty broke below the 7,800-mark and ended at 7,731.80, down 105.75 points, or 1.35 per cent.
A weaker rupee at 66.30 a dollar added to the downbeat mood.
"Lingering concerns about earnings and the worsening global risk environment have hit blue chips across the board.
The broader market will remain range-bound unless we see clarity on the Fed's next move," said Vijay Singhania, Founder-Director, TradeSmart Online, a leading discount brokerage firm.
Hindalco was the hardest hit as it plunged 5.07 per cent.
Technology stocks continued to feel the heat, with the worst-hit BSE IT index down 2.29 per cent.
Infosys, which warned of margin pressure in the third quarter on Monday, slumped 3.89 per cent while TCS tumbled over 1.61 per cent.
In a departure from the trend, Coal India surged 0.83 per cent after the Cabinet approved sale of 10 per cent in the company.
The broader markets cut a sorry figure too as the BSE small-cap index edged lower by 0.71 per cent and mid-cap 0.68 per cent.
There were heightened fears of selling as foreign investors net sold shares worth Rs 492.45 crore Tuesday, provisional data showed.
On the global front, Asian markets ended lower, with Shanghai shares sliding by 1.01 per cent.
Europe was also down in early trade as investors held themselves back before the release of Fed minutes.
"The worries over the FOMC minutes and Chinese economy weighed on sentiment of the broader market. The minutes of the FOMC will unveil the possibilities of a rate hike in December.
IT stocks were also impacted by the concerns over H1-B visa," said Vinod Nair, Head-Fundamental Research, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services Ltd.
Investors are watching for key US economic data due for release this week, which will dictate the trend.
As many as 26 components out of the 30-share Sensex ended in the red.
The market breadth turned negative as 1,615 stocks ended lower, 1,046 finished in the green while 185 ruled flat.
The total turnover rose to Rs 2,930.83 crore, from Rs 2,519.82 crore yesterday.
Pramit Brahmbhatt, Veracity Group CEO, said, "Expectations of a Fed interest rate hike and worsening global risk environment forced blue-chip and price sensitive shares to trade weak, which strained indices to slump over one and a half percent for the day."