Snapping its two-day rally, the BSE Sensex today crashed over 461 points—its biggest single-day decline in three weeks—to crack below the 26,000-mark after BOJ took investors by surprise by deciding against fresh stimulus and due to caution in view of April F&O expiry.
Depressed global cues following subdued Asian markets added to the widespread sell-off.
BOJ, whose meeting ended on Thursday, maintained status quo on interest rates. Earlier, the US Federal Reserve chose to keep its policy unchanged while signalling confidence in the economic outlook.
The broader NSE Nifty went below the psychological 7,900-mark.
Investors remained cautious in the face of expiry of April series contracts in the derivatives segment, which dampened sentiment.
The index was dragged down by losses mainly in metal, oil & gas, FMCG, infrastructure and auto stocks.
Participants were seen offloading their long bets in futures and options (F&O) segment instead of carrying them forward to the next series for May.
The Sensex resumed higher, then slipped into the negative zone as selling intensified. It ended at 25,603.10, a fall of 461.02 points, or 1.77 per cent—its biggest single-day fall since April 5.
The index gained 385 points over the past two sessions. The broader Nifty crashed 132.65 points, or 1.66 per cent, to 7,847.25.
“While the Fed decided to keep policy rates unchanged… the Bank of Japan (BOJ) disappointed market expectations,” said Shreyash Devalkar, Fund Manager Equities, BNP Paribas Mutual Fund.
Japan’s Nikkei sank 3.61 per cent while Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.27 per cent. European shares also fell largely in tandem with sell-off on Asian markets.
Market heavyweights like HDFC plunged 3.21 per cent, ITC 3 per cent, M&M 2.99 per cent, Maruti Suzuki 2.94 per cent, GAIL 2.52 per cent, Tata Steel 2.50 per cent and NTPC 2.45 per cent.
Bharti Airtel remained strong for most of the session on the back of better-than-expected Q4 earnings, but then succumbed to profit-taking and ended 0.23 per cent down.
Hindustan Unilever, Bajaj Auto, BHEL, Infosys, Adani Ports, SBI, RIL, Cipla, ONGC, Hero MotoCorp, ICICI Bank, Tata Motors and Coal India all lost ground.
Foreign portfolio investors net bought shares worth Rs 411 crore yesterday, provisional data showed.
In the 30-share Sensex constituents, 27 ended lower and three higher.
The BSE oil&gas index suffered the most by losing 2.18 per cent, followed by metal (2.16 per cent), power (2.01 per cent), auto (1.99 per cent), FMCG (1.95 per cent), PSU (1.90 per cent), capital goods (1.49 per cent) and IT (1.42 per cent).
Selling pressure also dragged down the BSE small-cap index by 1.05 per cent and mid-cap by 0.78 per cent.