Extending its fall for the fifth consecutive session, the BSE Sensex gave up early gains to end 120 points lower Wednesday, as investors booked profits in banking, auto, metal and pharma stocks in the last hour of trade. Sustained selling by domestic institutional investors (DIIs) and foreign institutional investors (FIIs) too dented market mood, brokers said.
The benchmark BSE index opened higher at 36,279.63 and advanced to hit a high of 36,375.80 on the back of positive macroeconomic data as retail inflation fell to a 19-month low on continued decline in food prices and positive cues from other Asian markets.
It, however, succumbed to profit-booking to touch a low of 35,962.79 on heavy selling at the fag-end. The index finally ended 119.51 points, or 0.33 per cent, lower at 36,034.11. The gauge had lost over 720 points in the previous four days.
In similar movement, the NSE Nifty fell below 10,800 and settled the day 37.75 points, or 0.35 per cent, down at 10,793.65 after shuttling between 10,891.65 and 10,772.10 during the day.
Top losers include ONGC, SBI, PowerGrid, L&T, Yes Bank, Asian Paints, Bajaj Finance, Maruti and NTPC, falling up to 2.84 per cent.
On the other hand, gainers include Tata Motors, TCS, HDFC, HCL Tech, Infosys, ITC, HDFC Bank and HUL, rising up to 2.18 per cent.
Sectorally, BSE bankex, auto, metal and healthcare indices ended up to 1.1 per cent lower.
Tracking overall trends, the broader markets too faced selling pressure as the BSE midcap index fell 0.52 per cent, and smallcap index shed 0.38 per cent.
Given mixed Q3 results, market is factoring further earnings downgrades, leading to outflows from FIIs and DIIs, said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
On a net basis, FIIs sold shares worth Rs 466.78 crore and DIIs offloaded shares worth Rs 122.64 crore Tuesday, provisional data showed.
"The inflation print on Tuesday and follow-on action with bond yields falling to 7.28 per cent seem to be telegraphing an additional rate cut by the RBI, said Sunil Sharma, Chief Investment Officer, Sanctum Wealth Management.
Despite global markets trading higher as US President Donald Trump hinted a more conciliatory stance toward China, Indian markets have not been able to sustain higher levels, suggesting caution on the part of investors and profit taking, he added.
Overseas, most Asian stocks ended higher and European equities were in a better shape on growing optimism over the prospects for a resolution to the US-China trade dispute.
Japan's Nikkei surged 1.34 per cent, Shanghai Composite Index rallied 1.84 per cent, Korea's Kospi was up 0.50 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 1.16 per cent and Singapore's Straits Times jumped 1.22 per cent.
In the euro zone, Frankfurt's DAX rose 0.47 per cent and Paris CAC 40 was up 0.32 per cent. London's FTSE too edged higher by 0.42 per cent.
On Wall Street, the US Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1.49 per cent higher in Tuesday's trade.