Mumbai: The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex plummeted by over 223 points in opening trade on Wednesday to trade below the 18,000-mark on continued selling by foreign funds and retail investors, spooked by the continued uncertainty in global markets.

The 30-share barometer, which lost 204.44 points in Tuesday's trade, slid further by 223.32 points, or 1.23 percent, to below the 18,000-level at 17,886.57 in the first few minutes of trade on Wednesday.

Similarly, the wide-based National Stock Exchange Nifty index moved down by 70.70 points, or 1.29 percent, to 5,385.85.
Stocks of realty, capital goods, auto, finance and IT companies remained under pressure, dragging down the Sensex.

Market experts said the bearish trading sentiment at home mirrored the weak trend on other Asian bourses in early trade on Wednesday, following overnight losses in the US market as fears about the health of the global economy were renewed by poor economic data that overshadowed a congressional deal to raise America's debt ceiling to avoid a first-ever default.

In the Asian region, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell by 1.97 percent and Japan's Nikkei by 2.21 percent on Wednesday morning. In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 2.19 percent lower in the previous session.