The Indian equity benchmarks staged a gap down opening on Friday on tghe back of weak global markets after Asian shares dropped on double-whammy of worries about global growth and an end to central bank support drove nervous investors toward safe assets. The Sensex fell as much as 615 points and Nifty 50 index touched an intraday low of 16,376.05.
As of 9:23 am, the Nifty was down 112 points at 16,456 and Sensex fell 408 points to 55,261.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.75 per cent, with Chinese blue chips down 1.22 per cent and Hong Kong down 0.53 per cent.
Japan's Nikkei fell 0.53 per cent, and U.S. stock futures, the S&P 500 e-minis, were down 0.26 per cent.
A day earlier Asian and European stock markets and oil fell sharply and the dollar rose to a nine month high, after the prospect of the Federal Reserve cutting back bond purchases spooked investors.
Back home, selling pressure was broad-based as all the 15 sector gauges, barring the index of IT shares, were trading lower led by the Nifty Metal index's 3.5 per cent decline.
Nifty Bank, Private Bank, PSU Bank, Realty, Financial Services and Auto indices also fell between 0.5-1.4 per cent.
Mid- and small-cap shares were also facing selling pressure as Nifty Midcap 100 index fell 0.7 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index declined 0.9 per cent.
Hindalco and Tata Steel were among the top Nifty losers, the stocks fell nearly 5 per cent. JSW Steel, ONGC, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Dr Reddy's Labs, Hero MotoCorp, Tata Motors, Axis Bank, State Bank of India, Larsen & Toubro and Indian Oil were also among the losers.
On the flipside, Bharti Airtel, SBI Life, Asian Paints, Tata Consumer Products, Maruti Suzuki, Bajaj Finserv, Britannia Industries, BPCL and Bajaj Finance were among the gainers.
The overall market breadth was negative as 1,773 shares were declining while 819 were advancing on the BSE.