The BSE benchmark Sensex on Thursday plummeted nearly 292 points to four-month low level of 18,509 points on across-the-board selling led by stocks of realty, IT and consumer durable amid concerns over economic growth and corporate earnings.

The Sensex dropped by 291.94 points, or 1.55 per cent, to close at 18,509.70, a level last seen on November 23 as overseas funds remained net sellers. The index had lost 239 points in the previous session.

Similarly, the broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty plunged below 5,600 level by losing 98.15 points, or 1.73 per cent, to 5,574.75.

Brokers said the trading sentiment remained bearish as foreign investors turned net sellers on Indian bourses amid concerns over weakening economic growth and corporate earnings may disappoint, amid fresh developments on the political front.

Foreign institutional investors sold $ 5.5 million worth of shares on April 2, only the fourth day of net sales this year.

Investors feared the fourth quarter earning season beginning from next week might give a gloomy picture, brokers added.

The current fall was led by stocks of realty, information technologies and consumer durable sectors. In 30-BSE index components, 24 stocks closed with losses.

Major losers which dragged down the benchmark lower were Infosys, Reliance Industries, Tata Consultancy Services, Jindal Steel, Sterlite Industries, SBI, ICICI Bank, ITC, Larsen and Toubro and Bharti Airtel.

The Auto sector declined after most companies reported this week a drop in March sales from a year earlier.

The realty sector index suffered the most by losing 3.39 per cent to 1,775.72 followed by IT index by 2.45 per cent to 6,743. Consumer durables lost 2.05 per cent to 6,993.88 and banking index by 1.89 per cent to 12,789.

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