Snapping a three-day upsurge, the BSE benchmark Sensex on Tuesday fell by 120.25 points to close below the 20,000-mark as market participants booking profits at higher levels, amid a mixed overseas trend.
The Sensex, which had gained 284 points in last three trading sessions, commenced the day higher at 20,156.86 before ending with a loss of 120.25 points, or 0.60 per cent at 19,981.57. GAIL, Hindustan Unilever (HUL), Hindalco, SBI and TCS were among major losers in the Sensex pack.
On similar lines, the broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty crossed 6,100 mark level for the first time in two years before slipping to close 33.80 points lower at 6,048.50.
Selling pressure developed as investors booked profits from the recent upsurge in stocks of auto, power and banking and oil and gas sectors, said brokers.
FMCG major Hindustan Unilever Ltd on Tuesday reported a 15.59 per cent jump in net profit to Rs 871.36 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2012. However, its shares slipped nearly 2.9 per cent.
Trading sentiment was hit as global markets depicted a mixed trend as investors awaited cues from key US corporate earnings to be released later today.
"European indices were showing mixed trend...Domestic market breadth was negative and profit-selling in lead stocks after recent gains led to pressure," said Rakesh Goyal, Senior Vice President, Bonanza Portfolio.
Overall, in 30-share BSE Sensex, 21 stocks ended lower including Infosys, Hero MotoCorp, Sterlite Industries, Tata Steel and Tata Power.
However, minor gains in Reliance Industries, ONGC and Bajaj Auto and around 1.5 per cent rise each in NTPC and Sun Pharma saved the market from a major fall.