The bellwether BSE Sensex plunged over 563 points and the NSE Nifty fell below the psychological 7,700-mark in early trade today as retail investors booked profits after amid sustained capital outflows by foreign funds.
A weak trend on other Asian markets as investors turned cautious ahead of the US job data to be released later in the day, also triggered selling by participants.
The 30-share barometer, which gained 311.22 points in the previous session, tanked 563 points, or 2.18 per cent, to 25,201.9. All the sectoral indices, led by realty and bankex, were trading in the negative zone with losses of up to 3.75 per cent.
The National Stock Exchange index Nifty dipped below the crucial 7,700-mark by falling 134.10 points, or 2.15 per cent, to 7,655.05.
Brokers said besides profit-booking by speculators and sustained capital outflows by foreign funds, a weak trend on other Asian bourses with investors awaiting a key US jobs report influenced sentiments here.
The European Central Bank indicating that it could expand its stimulus also weighed on the market sentiment, they said.
Brokers also said that fears of poor agriculture output as monsoon deficit widened triggered selling in stocks.
Among other Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei was trading 1.13 per cent down, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.19 per cent in early trade today.
The US Dow Jones Industrial Average, however, ended 0.14 per cent higher in yesterday's trade.
The rupee strengthened by 14 paise to 66.10 against the dollar in early trade on fresh selling of the US currency by exporters and banks.
The rupee had closed down by 5 paise at 66.24 against dollar at the Interbank Foreign Exchange yesterday.
Exporters and banks selling the US currency supported the rupee in early trade, dealers said, adding that the dollar's weakness against major world currencies also strengthened the rupee sentiment.
Domestic equity markets opened with losses which capped the rupee gains, they said.
The benchmark BSE Sensex fell by 227.25 points, or 0.88 per cent, to 25,537.53 in early trade.