The BSE Sensex on Tuesday fell nearly 15 points to about 19,687 from the 3-month high level on profit-booking as high crude oil prices raised investor concerns about inflation and hike in interest rates, amid weak markets globally.
The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark index, Sensex, lost 14.91 points to close the session at 19,686.82, after touching the day's low of 19,523.54.
Marketmen said trading sentiment turned bearish in view of high crude oil prices, fanning concerns that inflation might pick up, making corporate loans costlier as interest rates might go up again. Besides, some investors viewed the recent weeks' gains very high, they added.
Weak Asian trend and lower openings in Europe also dampened sentiment. Stock markets like Hong Kong, China and Taiwan were closed for public holiday.
The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty, on the other hand, managed to close with a moderate gain of 1.60 points at 5,910.05. It had dipped to 5,855.85 intra-day.
The Crude for May delivery settled at the highest level since September 22, 2008 and traded yesterday at $108.78 a barrel in New York. The oil and gas index suffered the most as the heaviest weighed Reliance Industries fell by Rs 4.90 to Rs 1,044.95.
The banking stocks were under pressure as well. ICICI Bank fell Rs 9.30 to Rs 1,110, HDFC Bank lost Rs 6.85 to Rs 2,391.60, HDFC Ltd, the top mortgage lender was down Rs 7.25 at Rs 698.25 and Axis Bank by Rs 4.80 at Rs 1,427.35.
The Information Technologies stocks, led by the second most heaviest on the Sensex, Infosys, recorded heavy losses on concerns that a rally in the Indian rupee may pare earnings of exporters. The stock fell Rs 4.35 to Rs 3,279.50.