Bad loan worries came back to haunt market as the Sensex slid for the second day by plunging 255 points, led by banking stocks after Axis Bank's sharp drop in quarterly profit suggested all is not well on the NPA front.
Weak global leads following tumbling oil prices and the recent developments involving the Tata group after the ouster of Cyrus Mistry as its chairman cast their shadow too.
The 30-share index cracked below the 28,000-mark and closed at 27,836.51 points, down 254.91 points, or 0.91 per cent. The barometer had lost 88 points in the previous session.
The 50-share NSE Nifty settled lower by 76.05 points, or 0.88 per cent, at 8,615.25. Intra-day, it shuttled between 8,596.60 and 8,657.30.
Investors remained cautious as October month series in the derivatives segment is set to expire on Thursday.
"Unsurprisingly, banks led the falls today, and with more banks about to announce Q2 figures, investors are waiting to see if Axis' numbers can be dismissed as a one-off case," said Anand James, Chief Market Strategist, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services.
Tata group stocks such as Tata Motors, Tata Steel and TCS all continued to reel and registered further losses by up to 4.27 per cent.
Sentiment remained off-colour as Asian shares mostly retreated, hit by falling oil prices amid fresh fears after reports emerged that Russia will not take part in a planned oil output cut by major producers, brokers said.
Of the 30-share Sensex pack, 21 lost while 9 ended higher.
Financial stocks were the biggest contributors to the market decline, with BSE Bank index falling 1.89 per cent.
Axis Bank topped the losers' among 30-Sensex pack by tumbling 8.04 per cent after the company's July-September quarter net plunged by 83 per cent.
Others that retreated included ICICI Bank, Adani Ports, Wipro, Asian Paints, Cipla, Power Grid, Sun Pharma, Lupin, SBI, HDFC Bank, GAIL and RIL, falling up to 3.65 per cent.
Sectorally, BSE metal index fell 1.37 per cent, infrastructure 1.18 per cent and healthcare 1.12 per cent.
Tracking the overall trend, the broader markets witnessed selling, with the mid-cap index declining 0.90 per cent and small-cap 0.66 per cent.
Foreign investors net sold shares worth Rs 606.34 crore on Wednesday, provisional data showed.
A lower opening in European markets following a slide in commodity producers and disappointing earnings hurt sentiment.
Globally, Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.02 per cent while Shanghai Composite fell 0.50 per cent. Japan's Nikkei, however, rose 0.15 per cent.
Key indices in France, Germany and the UK were lower by up to 1.04 per cent.