The BSE index, which had gained 114 points in last two sessions, plunged 255.14 points, or 1.25 percent, to end at 20,193.35. This was the biggest drop since 304.59-point fall on February 3.

"Weak quarterly results of certain large caps, poor global cues and uncertainty over a clear direction to the markets may have led to sharp weakness," said Milan Bavishi, Head Research, Inventure Growth & Securities.

Cipla shares saw a nearly 8 percent drop after third quarter earnings lagged estimates. PSU major Coal India Ltd (CIL) fell 3.4 percent on disappointing earnings. SBI ended 2.16 percent down ahead of Q3'FY14 results tomorrow. Overall, 26 of 30 Sensex constituents ended down.

The 50-share NSE index Nifty dropped 82.90 points, or 1.36 percent, to end at 6,001.10. Intra-day, it moved between 5,991.10 and 6,094.40. Today's drop was the sharpest since 87.70-point dip on February 3.

Global stocks fell, led by a drop in Tokyo, ahead of US data releases.

Worries over the domestic economy also led to selling after data on Wednesday showed industrial output contracted 0.6 percent in December. Retail inflation easing to 2-year low of 8.79 percent in January, did not appear to enthuse investors.

"Disappointing IIP also weakened market sentiment," said Nidhi Saraswat, Senior Research Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio.     

Eleven of the twelve BSE sectoral indices closed down. Rate-sensitive banking and capital goods settled with over two per cent losses. The realty sector, however, ended up.

The MSCI Global Standard Indices will see the deletion of Lupin, Power Grid Corporation of India and Zee Entertainment Enterprises from global standard indices with effect from February 28. All the three scrips ended in the red.

In step with stock markets, the Indian rupee was trading 24 paise lower at 62.35 versus dollar in late trades.


Latest News from Business News Desk