Indian equity benchmarks on Wednesday extended their fall for the third straight session, dragged by index heavyweights Reliance Industries, Tata Consultancy Services and HDFC twins (HDFC and HDFC Bank). Domestic indices plunged, reversing gains from earlier in the session driven by a resurgence in crude prices back above the $100 per barrel mark.
Brent crude had tumbled $7 on Tuesday to settle below $100 a barrel for the first time in three months.
India's bane for years has been supply-driven price pressures, and an uptick in crude prices raises imported inflation as the country depends on foreign energy for more than 80 per cent of its needs and is also the world's third-largest buyer.
The 30-share BSE Sensex fell 372 points or 0.69 per cent to close at 53,514, while the broader NSE Nifty moved 92 points or 0.57 per cent lower to settle at 15,967.
Though, mid- and small-cap shares finished on a positive note as Nifty Midcap 100 rose 0.16 per cent and small-cap climbed 0.22 per cent.
Seven out of the 15 sector gauges -- compiled by the National Stock Exchange -- settled in the red. Sub-indexes Nifty Oil & Gas, Nifty Private Bank and Nifty Financial Services underperformed the NSE platform by falling as much as 1.32 per cent, 1.05 per cent and 0.97 per cent.
However, Nifty Pharma and Nifty FMCG jumped as much as 1.38 per cent and 0.94 per cent, each.
On the stock-specific front, IndusInd Bank was the top Nifty loser as the stock cracked 3.13 per cent to Rs 820.50. HDFC twins, Bharti Airtel and Reliance were also among the laggards.
The overall market breadth stood slightly positive as 1,687 shares advanced while 1,637 declined on BSE.
On the 30-share BSE index, IndusInd Bank, Airtel, HDFC twins, RIL, TCS, Titan, HCL Tech, Bajaj Finserv, ICICI Bank, M&M and Tech Mahindra were among the top losers with their shares down as much as 3.42 per cent.
In contrast, Hindustan Unilever, Asian Paints, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Sun Pharma, NTPC, Nestle India, UltraTech Cement, ITC, Infosys, SBI, Axis Bank and PowerGrid finished in the green.
Further, shares of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), the country's biggest insurer and largest domestic financial investor, rose 0.24 per cent to end at Rs 719.
On the global front, investors will now focus on U.S. consumer price index due later in the day, to gauge the path of interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.