In volatile trading on Tuesday, the BSE Sensex closed nearly 16 points down at 18,513 as investors sold banking and refinery stocks amid concerns over high interest rates and fears of hike in fuel prices.
It is the second day that Sensex closed on a flat note, although yesterday it had recorded marginal gains.
The 30-share Bombay Stock Exchange index, Sensex, which had edged up 10.15 points in the previous session, fell 16.19 points to 18,512.77, after shuttling between 18,689.37 and 18,429.06.
The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty also closed with a loss of 9.85 points at 5,541.25. It touched the day's low of 5,514.55 and a high of 5,592.90.
Banking, consumer durables, capital goods, oil and gas and IT stocks suffered heavy losses on fresh selling. However, gains in FMCG, realty, power, auto and metal sector stocks, and a firm global tend saved the market from any major fall.
The barometer's two heaviest stocks with 23 per cent weightage -- Reliance Industries and Infosys Technologies fell on heavy selling. RIL lost 0.71 per cent to Rs 951.50 and Infosys by 0.80 per cent to Rs 2,880.40.
Brokers said investors remained jittery on speculation that the government might hike fuel prices, stoking inflation and triggering further hike in interest rates.
The banking sector index fell the most by 0.63 per cent to 12,544.54 as HDFC Bank dropped Rs 33.50 to Rs 2,246.75 and HDFC Ltd by Rs 2.45 to Rs 661.65.
The consumer durables sector index fell 0.60 per cent to 6,157.18 on fears the hike in interest rate might trim house-hold items.