Mumbai: A mutant strain of COVID-19 not only strained the transport links to the UK but also spooked global investors, plunging India's stock markets deep into the red on Monday.
Resultantly, India's equity benchmark indices fell the hardest in seven months.
Accordingly, both the key indices -- S&P BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty50 - fell by over 3 per cent on Monday.
At the end of the day's trade, the Sensex plunged to 45,553.96 points, down 1,406.73 points or 3 per cent from its previous close.
Similarly, Nifty50 fell to 13,328.40 points, down 432.15 or 3.14 per cent from its previous close.
All sectoral indices ended in the negative with PSU Bank, Media, Metals realty, Auto, Banks and Pharma indices being loss leaders.
Broader market indices line Midcap and Smallcap fell more than the Nifty.
It is speculated that 'Basket' selling by FPIs likely triggered the sharp fall in Indian markets.
In terms of intra-day, the Nifty50 touched a low of 13,131.45 points while Sensex plunged to 44,923.08 points.
All Sensex components ended in the red, with ONGC leading the pack by tanking around 9 per cent. IndusInd Bank, M&M, SBI, NTPC, ITC, Axis Bank and PowerGrid shed up to 7 per cent.
Globally, investors were spooked at the prospects of economic damage unleashed by a new and more contagious Covid-19 strain discovered in the UK.
Consequently, air travel linkages to and from many regions of the world including India to the UK has been suspended.
The Indian markets had a 'gap down' opening soon started to recede at an alarming pace.
Besides, high valuation and absence of any positive trigger added weight to the slide.
Stock exchanges in Paris, Frankfurt and London were trading up to 2.50 per lower in early deals.
Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Hong Kong and Tokyo ended in the red, while Shanghai and Seoul settled with mild gains.
Global oil benchmark Brent crude futures plummetted 5.30 per cent to USD 49.49 per barrel.
(With inputs from agencies)