In line with weak Asian markets, Sensex on Wednesday dropped 72 points to 16,846.05, its lowest closing since June 18, amid rising worries over deficient rains and delay in key economic reforms.
After opening marginally lower, the BSE benchmark index fell to the day's low of 16,736.60 - over 180 points down - on weak Asian cues.
The index later recouped some losses on the back of smart gains in ITC and Sun Pharma to end at 16,846.05, down 72.03 points or 0.43 per cent. This is the lowest closing after it hit 16,705.83 on June 18.
Brokers said had it not been for the rise in these two stocks, Sensex would have seen a steeper fall. In the 30-share Sensex, nine scrips ended higher while 21 stocks, including Tata Steel and Hindalco, ended lower.
Both Infosys and Jindal Steel touched their 52-week lows.
HUL, RIL, Bharti that fell in the 1-2 per cent range also dragged the index down.
Traders said market participants feared that deficient rains will lead to a spurt in food prices, leaving not much room for the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates.
The absence of speedier economic reforms even after the Presidential Elections is a major worry, said dealers.
Trading was cautious ahead of the monthly settlement in derivatives segment on Thursday, they added.
Selling was seen mainly in metal, consumer durables, power, PSU and capital goods counters while some of the FMCG, IT and pharma stocks attracted good buying support.
The 50-share NSE index Nifty lost 18.60 points, or 0.36 per cent to 5,109.60, after breaching 5,100 mark.
The sentiment was negative as Asian markets, including Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, closed lower on concerns over China's economic slowdown and debt crisis in Europe.
"Sentiments remain subdued over the concerns on overall economic health of global markets as well as weak monsoon in the country," said Nidhi Saraswat, Senior Research Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio.