The benchmark BSE Sensex continued its slide for a third straight session as it fell by 160 points in early trade on sustained capital outflows by foreign funds and selling by retail investors.
In addition, weakness in the rupee against the American currency too weighed on the sentiment. The 30-share Sensex plunged by 159.77 points or 66 per cent, to trade below 24,000-mark at 23,861.21 in early trade.
Stocks of bank, healthcare, metal, oil&gas and realty were trading in the negative zone with losses up to 1.11 per cent. The gauge had lost 595.99 points in the previous two sessions.
On similar lines, the NSE Nifty fell by 41.90 points, or 0.57 per cent to 7,256.30. Major losers that dragged down the indices were Tata Motors, ICICI Bank, Dr Reddy's, Adani ports, ONGC, GAIL, Sun Pharma, Lupin, M&M and SBI.
Brokers said sentiment remained weak as participants indulged in offloading their positions, tracking a weak trend in Asian region following overnight losses in the US market as investors grappled with weakness in overseas equity markets and another drop in oil prices.
In the Asian region, Japan's Nikkei lost 2.40 per cent in early trade, while China's Shanghai Composite index and Hong Kong's Hang Seng remained closed for a public holiday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.08 per cent lower yesterday.