The BSE Sensex fell 42 points after an intra-day rally, which took it past the 21,000-mark for the first time in almost three years, fizzled out in the afternoon as IT stocks declined.
The 30-share index opened little changed and surged to 21,039.42, crossing the 21,000-mark after 35 months, on buying in auto, banking, consumer durables and oil and gas sectors on the back of persistent foreign capital inflows. It then retreated and closed at 20,725.43, a drop of 42.45 points or 0.20 per cent. The Sensex was last above 21,000 on Nov 8, 2010.
The 50-share National Stock Exchange Nifty moved down 14 points, or 0.23 per cent, to 6,164.35. The SX40 on the MCX Stock Exchange closed at 12,331.32, down 7.5 points.
Coal India (CIL), Jindal Steel and BHEL were among the major losers as 19 shares on the Sensex declined. TCS, Reliance Industries (RIL), Wipro and Infosys were the biggest drag on the index.
Among the sectoral indices, IT, power, realty and metal retreated.
Brokers said investors judged the rally was overdone. A section of the market booked profits after disappointing earnings led by Jet Airways and Ambuja Cements, they added.
"IT is in correction mode for short term but will ultimately outperform if one has view of more than 3-6 months," said Rakesh Tarway, AVP Research, Motilal Oswal Securities. "There will be some buying in beaten down sectors of infra, banking. Apart from this, media will do well."
Shares of PSU banks gained after the Ministry of Finance said after trading hours on Wednesday the government has approved infusion of Rs 14,000 crore in 20 lenders.
Overseas investors pumped in a net Rs 644.80 crore in shares on Wednesday, according to preliminary data from the stock exchanges.
Most Asian markets ended higher after a measure of Chinese manufacturing hit a seven-month high. Key indices in South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan rose while indices in China and Hong Kong fell.
With inputs from PTI