Here are 10 things to know about the markets today:
At 9:34 am, the Sensex traded 422.67 points - or 1.32 per cent - lower at 31,585.94 while the Nifty was down 111.90 points - or 1.19 per cent - at 9,271.65.
In the Nifty basket of 50 components, 38 shares moved lower. Top percentage losers were NTPC, Infosys, Tata Motors, Power Grid and Tech Mahindra, trading between 2.93 per cent and 4.14 per cent lower. On the other hand, Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Finserv, Nestle, Vedanta and Kotak Mahindra Bank - up between 1.08 per cent and 2.99 per cent each - were the top Nifty gainers.
All the Nifty sectoral indices traded in the red, with the exception of FMCG and pharma indices. Financial heavyweights were weak in early trades. The Nifty IT index was down 2.68 per cent, having fallen as much as 3.12 per cent earlier, and was the worst performing sector on the NSE at the time.
The broader markets were, however, outperforming the benchmark indices. The BSE Midcap index was up 0.28 per cent at the time but the Smallcap index was flat.
The NSE's Nifty VIX index - which gauges the markets' expectation of volatility in the near term - was down 1.54 per cent despite the decline in the benchmark indices.
Market breadth favoured losses, as 721 stocks moved lower on the NSE against 580 shares that moved in the opposite direction.
The Finance Minister said after market hours on Wednesday that loan guarantees worth Rs 4.5 lakh crore will be provided to small businesses, non-banking financial companies and power firms. In addition, the government will set up two debt and equity funds amounting to Rs 70,000 crore to support stressed businesses.
The measures were part of a Rs 20 lakh-crore fiscal and monetary package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday to support the economy, which has been battered by a weeks-long lockdown to curb the coronavirus. Ms Sitharaman also announced provident fund and tax benefits for people as well as extended the due dates for filing income tax returns.
Equities in other Asian markets suffered losses, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan last seen trading 0.86 per cent lower in early trade. Japan's Nikkei 225 benchmark index was down 0.67 per cent at the time, while China's Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong's Hang Seng indices were down 0.65 per cent and 1.36 per cent respectively.
Overnight in the US, share markets extended losses to a second straight day after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned of extended economic weakness due to the coronavirus outbreak and called for additional fiscal support. The S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite indices ended 1.75 per cent, 2.17 per cent and 1.55 per cent respectively.