Domestic stock markets nosedived on Wednesday on the back of weak global cues after European equity markets fell sharply as coronavirus infections grew rapidly in Europe and the United States, igniting fears of possible strict lockdown measures that could damage already fragile economic recoveries. Uncertainty over the impending US presidential election also weighed on investors' sentiment. The BSE benchmark - S&P BSE Sensex slumped as much as 747 points or 1.85 per cent and National Stock Exchange benchmark - Nifty 50 index - tumbled 205 points to fall below its important psychological level of 11,700.
The Sensex ended 600 points or 1.48 per cent lower at 39,922 and Nifty 50 index dropped 160 points or 1.34 per cent to close at 11,730.
European shares fell on reports of potential lockdowns in Germany and France, losing 2.5 per cent to hit five-month lows, rattled by a media report that France might bring in a national lockdown from midnight on Thursday.
The Paris index was among the hardest hit, losing 3.5 per cent to touch its lowest since May.
German shares slumped 3.2 per cent to their lowest since June, after a report Chancellor Angela Merkel wanted to close restaurants and bars to curb new infections.
Back home, all the eleven sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended lower led by the Nifty Financial Services index's over 2 per cent decline. Nifty Bank, IT, Media, Metal, Pharma, PSU Bank, Private Bank and Realty sector gauges also fell between 1-2.2 per cent each.
Mid- and small-cap shares also faced selling pressure as Nifty Midcap 100 and Nifty Smallcap 100 indexes fell 1 per cent each.
HDFC, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Infosys and Reliance Industries were among the top drags in the Sensex, they collectively wiped out over 350 points from the 30-share index.
Forty one out of 50 shares in the Nifty 50 index ended lower led by HDFC's 3.5 per cent fall. IndusInd Bank, ICICI Bank, Dr Reddy's Labs, Adani Ports, Tech Mahindra, UltraTech Cement, Bajaj Finance, Tata Steel, Hindalco, State Bank of India and NTPC also fell between 2-3 per cent.
On the flipside, Bharti Airtel was top Nifty gainer, the stock ended 3.38 per cent higher after it reported highest-ever quarterly revenue of Rs 25,785 crore in July-September quarter.
UPL, Mahindra & Mahindra, Eicher Motors, Hero MotoCorp, Larsen & Toubro and Wipro were also among the notable gainers.
The overall market breadth was negative as 1,636 shares closed lower while 998 ended higher on the BSE.