Negative global markets, along with caution ahead of the results of assembly elections in five states and a rise in crude oil prices, suppressed the key Indian equities indices during Monday morning's trade session.
The key indices -- the S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 - had a gap-down opening and subsequently shed over 600 points and 190 points or more than 1.60 per cent each.
According to market observers, heavy selling pressure in banking, consumer goods, oil and gas, capital goods and automobile stocks, along with continuous outflow of foreign funds accelerated the downward trajectory of the equity indices.
On the currency front, the Indian rupee weakened to 71.39 against the US dollar from its previous close of 70.81.
At around 10.50 a.m., the wider Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) traded lower by 186.15 points or 1.74 percent to 10,507.55 points.
The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex), which opened at 35,204.66 points, traded at 35,066.82 points -- lower by 606.43 points or 1.70 percent -- from its previous session's close of 35,673.25 points.
The BSE market breadth was bearish with 1,638 declines and only 384 advances.
"Indian markets have expectedly opened lower and are currently trading about 1.7 percent lower," HDFC Securities' Retail Research Head Deepak Jasani told IANS.
"Despite the negative of exit polls (that impacts only India), our markets have fallen in line with the other global markets which were down due to the resurgence of US-China friction and rise in crude prices.
"Actual election results will be known on Tuesday and if BJP does well compared to the expectations in exit polls then we could witness a minor relief rally. However, the overhang of negativity may still persist."
On Tuesday, the results of the state Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattishgarh, Telangana and Mizoram will be declared. These elections are considered as a crucial indicator of public mood before the Lok Sabha elections which are due in April-May 2019.
Besides the outcome of the state elections, a rise in crude oil prices after the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia decided to go in for a production cut of 1.2 million barrels per day from 2019 might hinder the markets' attempts to arrest the fall.
Last Friday - the previous trade session - bargain hunting and lower crude oil prices lifted the key Indian equity market indices by around 1 percent.
Consequently, the NSE Nifty50 had ended higher by 93 points or 0.87 percent at 10,693.70 points, whereas the Sensex closed at 35,673.25 points, up 361.12 points or 1.02 percent.