In volatile trade, the Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex on Tuesday lost 186 points to end below the crucial 20,000-level, as investors liquidated holdings to invest in the initial public offerings of Coal India.
The 30-share index fell sharply in the last 30 minutes of trade to settle at 19,983.13 points, reflecting a loss of 185.76 points over the previous close. The barometer shuttled between 20,332.02 points and 19,923.96 points during the day.
In similar fashion, the broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty lost 48.65 points to close at 6,027.30 points.
Every rise in the stock prices was encashed by investors, who were mopping up funds to invest in the country's largest initial public offering.
Selling pressure was more confined to IT and tech stocks, led by Infosys Technologies, after IBM reported a drop in new contracts.
IT major Infosys Technologies, the second-heaviest on the Sensex, lost Rs 94.70 to Rs 3,012.30 as IBM, the world's largest computer-services provider said service contracts dropped 7 per cent in its third quarter.
Tata Consultancy Services lost Rs 12.15 to Rs 967.20 and Wipro Rs 3.90 to Rs 463.65.
The oil and gas major and the heaviest on the Sensex, Reliance Industries, dropped Rs 5.05 to Rs 1,043.85 on profit booking by funds.
In the 30-BSE index components, 24 stocks declined while six ended in positive zone.
IT, tech, realty and metal stocks suffered the most while gains in pharma, auto and FMCG shares saved the market from any major fall.
The stocks of Biocon gained Rs 52.25, to Rs 455, following the company entered into a $350-million global deal with the US-based drug major Pfizer.
As the investors rush to pick fundamentally strong shares with low-cost, the small and midcap sector index rose 0.24 per cent, each, to 10,638.96 and 8,291.68 points, respectively.