The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark Sensex on Wednesday closed lower by nearly 114 points after choppy trade, as investors turned cautious ahead of the Cabinet reshuffle amid rate increase concerns.
The 30-share barometre fell 113.73 to close at 18,978.32, ending the two-day rally in which it had gained over 230 points. The gauge shuttled between 19,167.06 points and 18,898.56 points during the session. It dropped 4.2 per cent last week, ending 10 per cent below the November 5 record.
In similar fashion, the broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty lost 33 points to 5,691.05, after moving between 5,747.65 and 5,662.55.
Brokers said trading sentiment turned bearish on concern that rising prices would erode profit growth and prompt the Reserve Bank of India to raise interest rates at a meeting next week.
They said foreign funds sold heavy-weight stocks and shifted funds to other emerging equity markets.
Foreign funds were net sellers for the ninth day on January 17, the longest stretch of withdrawals since May, official data revealed. General investors becoming more cautious ahead of the Cabinet reshuffle this evening, was another dampening factor for the market, brokers said.
The capital goods sector index was worst performer - losing 1.20 per cent to 13,517.77 as stocks of Larsen & Toubro, the largest engineering company, fell to a seven-month low of Rs 1,651.95, by losing Rs 31.50.
The information technology sector was second-biggest loser - falling 1.18 per cent to 6,641.65, as Infosys Technologies led a decline in software stocks, halting two days of gains. Infosys fell Rs 66.15 to Rs 3,252.
As selling pressure spread over a wide-front, the midcap sector index fell 0.15 per cent to 7,166.31 and smallcap index 0.09 per cent to 8,901.67. However, a rise in metal, realty, auto and banking sectors capped the losses.