The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark index, Sensex, widened early losses to end over 300 points down at a 3-month low, wiping out over Rs. 1 lakh crore in investor wealth, rattled by fears of a worsening EU debt crisis following a poll stalemate in Italy.

The 30-share index closed at 19015.14, sharply down by 316.55 points. The fall was led by oil and gas stocks which lost 3.07 per cent, followed by automobiles (2.76 per cent), capital goods (2.44 per cent) and metals (2.30 per cent). Information Technology stocks, however, registered marginal gains.

Weak opening of the European markets added to the selling pressure, with European shares opened sharply lower on Tuesday. Italian stocks were the worst performers, as political deadlock gripped the euro zone's third-largest economy after an inconclusive election result.

On the National Stock Exchange (NSE) the 50-share Nifty index closed at 5761.35, with a loss of 93.40 points or 1.60 per cent.

“Market’s reaction to the railway budget was tepid. There was not much in the railway budget to impact the markets ,” said Dipen Shah, Head of Private Client Group Research, Kotak Securities.

Among other broader indices, the BSE 100 was down by 1.56 per cent, BSE 200 (1.58 per cent) and BSE 500 (1.60 per cent).

While the mid-cap index dipped by 1.76 per cent, small- cap index crashed by 2.43 per cent.

PTI reports:

Railway-linked stocks like Kalindee Rail Nirman and Titagarh Wagons fell between 8-12 per cent. Total market capitalisation tanked by Rs. 1.07 lakh crore to end at Rs. 66.14 lakh crore, BSE data showed. Global markets turned out a poor performance with Asian markets ending 1-2 per cent down. European indices were trading with deep losses of 1.5 per cent each in the afternoon.

“Global cues were poor today. This dragged down Indian markets,” said Saurabh Mukherjea, Head of Equities, Ambit Capital. Reports said an inconclusive result to elections in Italy sparked off fresh fears over EU debt crisis.

Rupee plunges

The rupee lost 23 paise to end at 54.09 due to month-end dollar demand and a steep fall in local equities.

The rupee commenced lower at 54.03 a dollar from the previous close of 53.86 at the interbank foreign exchange market.

Later, the rupee moved in a tight range of 54.00-54.22 before ending at 54.09, a fall of 23 paise.

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