Sensex plunged by 604.51 points today to 26,397.71, its biggest single-day fall in nearly four months, as a shock victory for 'Leave' camp in the UK referendum sent markets across the world into a tailspin. As a result, total investor wealth, measured in terms of cumulative market value of all listed stocks, tanked nearly Rs 1.79 lakh crore.
The rupee also took a sharp plunge of 96 paise (intra-day) against the US dollar to crash below the 68-level, but RBI intervention to infuse liquidity helped the local currency recoup some early losses. Britain voted to leave the EU today in a deadly blow to the 28-nation bloc, forcing Prime Minister David Cameron to announce resignation in the wake of defeat in the referendum whose result triggered a panic reaction in world markets.
Global markets went into a tizzy with Japan's Nikkei tumbling 7.92 per cent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 2.92 per cent. European stocks was also trading lower with London Stock Exchange's FTSE index down 5 per cent after crashing 9 per cent in early deals. Domestic stocks, which had plunged close to 1,100 points in early trade, recouped some of the losses on value-buying in pre-close session and talking-up by influential policymakers, including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan.
After opening lower at 26,367.48, the BSE Sensex continued to slide, hit by plunging global markets, forcing the index to crack the 26,000-mark and touch a low of 25,911.33. However, value-buying in key bluechips, helped the index recover part of the lost ground to close the session 604.51 points or 2.24 per cent down at 26,397.71. This was the index's weakest closing since February 11.
The 50-share NSE Nifty, which cracked below 8,000-level to hit a low of 7,927.05 during the session, managed to recover part of the initial losses and settled 181.85 points or 2.20 per cent down at 8,088.60. Companies having large exposure to the UK, led by Tata Motors, Tata Steel, Bharat Forge, Infosys, TCS, Hindalco and Tech Mahindra which get a substantial proportion of their revenue in pound, also ended in the deep red.
The fall was so widespread that 23 Sensex stocks closed in the red including Tata Motors, Tata Steel, L&T, ICICI Bank, ONGC, RIL, Axis Bank, SBI, TCS and Adani Ports crashing by up to 7.99 per cent. Among BSE sectoral indices, realty suffered the most by 3.74 per cent followed by metal (3.59 pc), capital goods (3.30 pc), banking (2.69 pc), auto (2.63 pc), IT (2.13 pc), teck (2.01 pc) and oil&gas (1.82 pc). Broader markets also performed weak with the BSE small-cap index falling 1.46 per cent and mid-cap down 1.07 per cent