Domestic stock markets fell amid volatile trade on Thursday, extending losses to a second straight session, as a selloff in financial, energy and metal stocks pulled the markets lower. The S&P BSE Sensex index dropped as many as 707.61 points from an intraday high of 38,413.81 to hit 37,706.20 on the downside in late afternoon deals.The broader NSE Nifty 50 benchmark slumped to as low as 11,089.55, having earlier risen to as high as 11,299.95 compared to its previous close of 11,202.85.
The Sensex ended 335.06 points - or 0.88 per cent - lower at 37,736.07, and the Nifty settled at 11,102.15, down 100.70 points - or 0.90 per cent - from its previous close.
Bharat Petroleum, IndusInd Bank, Indian Oil, HDFC and Axis Bank - ending between 3.15 per cent and 7.93 per cent lower - were the worst among the 37 stocks in the 50-scrip Nifty basket that declined.
On the other hand, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Wipro, Vedanta and Maruti Suzuki India - closing with gains of between 1.21 per cent and 4.60 per cent - were the top Nifty gainers.
HDFC, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank were the top drags on the Sensex, accounting for a loss of more than 200 points in the index.
Volatility set in as investors rushed to settle their positions ahead of the expiration of monthly derivative contracts due by the end of the session, say analysts.
COVID-19 cases rose by over 50,000 in the last 24 hours in the country, and touched 1.58 million by Thursday morning, government data showed.
Equities elsewhere in Asia turned negative in the second half of the day, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan declining 0.10 per cent. A stalemate on US fiscal support that investors hoped would help cushion the impact of the coronavirus outbreak dented global sentiment
While Japan's Nikkei 225, China's Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong's Hang Seng indices fell 0.26 per cent, 0.23 per cent and 0.69 per cent respectively, South Korea's KOSPI barometer eked out a gain of 0.17 per cent.
European share markets started Thursday's session on a sharply negative note, with the United Kingdom's FTSE index down 1.56 per cent in early trade. France's CAC and Germany's DAX indices were down 1.25 per cent and 2.40 per cent respectively at the time.
The E-Mini S&P 500 futures were down 0.86 per cent, indicating a negative start for US markets.
On Wednesday, the US central bank left interest rates near zero to support its coronavirus-hit economy, raising hopes for accommodative monetary policies from other central banks.
All members of the Federal Reserve voted to leave the target range for short-term rates between 0 per cent and 0.25 per cent, and the US central bank vowed to use its "full range of tools" to support the world's largest economy.