The benchmark Sensex fell 175 points to the lowest level in almost four weeks today amid increasing fears the US Federal Reserve would start tapering its stimulus programme after better-than-expected jobs data.
The index declined for the fifth straight day even as data showing exports in October rose at the fastest pace in two years. Sentiment was also dented as the rupee fell below the 63-level against the dollar.
Hindalco, Larsen and Toubro and ONGC were the major losers as 24 of the 30 Sensex shares declined. Reliance Industries and Tata Motors were the biggest drag on the index.
Realty and capital goods led 10 of the 13 BSE sectoral indices lower.
The Sensex opened lower and hovered in a range of 20,453.15 to 20,672.53 before ending at 20,490.96, a fall of 175.19 points or 0.85 per cent.
The index is at the lowest level since ending at 20,415.51 on October 17. It has plunged 748.40 points in the five sessions since the closing peak of 21,239.36 during the special muhurat session on November 3.
"With positive US jobs data, investors fear that US Fed can once again taper stimulus programme, which will reduce liquidity in the markets," said Nidhi Saraswat, Senior Research Analyst at Bonanza Portfolio Ltd. "Also, profit booking was evident in index heavyweights."
The 50-share CNX Nifty dropped 61.95 points, or 1.01 per cent, to 6,078.80. The SX40 index on the MCX Stock Exchange ended 93.4 points lower at 12,180.24.
Brokers said the market was also under pressure as the rupee fell to two-month low of 63.44 against the dollar. A depreciating rupee could slow capital inflows and deter the Reserve Bank from easing liquidity curbs further.
India's exports in October rose 13.47 per cent to USD 27.27 billion from a year earlier while imports dipped 14.5 per cent, helping to narrow the trade deficit.