Mumbai:  The BSE Sensex tumbled 277 points on Monday on heavy selling by funds in metals, realty and IT stocks, particularly heavyweight Infosys, ahead of settlement in this month's derivatives contracts.

Marketmen also attributed the decline to a report that a hedge fund has exited short positions in India's single stock futures. Besides, they said, global markets did not offer strong cues either.

Sensex, which lost 130 points on Friday, plunged another 277.16 points, or 1.60 per cent, to 17,096.68. The NSE 50-scrip index Nifty fell 90.25 points, or 1.71 per cent, to 5,200.60.

Infosys dropped 3.92 per cent on reports that the company may face heat as US' Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is reviewing its employer eligibility after finding errors in identity verification forms of some of its staff.

India's leading software and IT services exporters get about 60 per cent revenues from the US market. The decline was, however, cushioned by another Sensex heavyweight RIL, which gained 0.64 per cent despite a sharp dip in fourth quarter earnings, as they were found to be in line with market expectations.

The metal sector index plunged by 2.86 per cent to 10,956.42, while the realty sector was hit harder -- down 3.17 per cent at 1,714.46. Among the 30 Sensex stocks, 25 closed in the red. Other big losers included Bajaj Auto, Hero MotoCorp, SBI, TCS, L&T, BHEL and DLF.

(Agencies)