The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex today declined by over 68 points after a volatile session as the market reeled under selling pressure for the second day amid weakness in the rupee.
The 30-share Sensex, which opened slightly higher, declined to a low of 18,551.35 before recovering to a high of 18,811.46. Later, it fell again and settled at 18,664.88, a drop of 68.16 points or 0.36 per cent. Yesterday, the index had tumbled 2.34 per cent.
The 50-share Nifty index on the National Stock Exchange declined 23.15 points, or 0.42 per cent, to 5,519.10. The SX40 index on the MCX-SX was down 0.47 per cent.
The rupee, which yesterday recovered from an all-time intra-day low of 61.80 against the dollar to close at 60.77, remained in the doldrums and was quoted at 60.98 in late afternoon deals.
"Investors are expecting RBI to intervene to limit the rupee weakening, which led to buying in banking stocks today," said Nidhi Saraswat, a senior research analyst at Bonanza Portfolio Ltd. "Also, buying from lower levels after steep correction was visible. However, weakness in global markets dampened the investor sentiment."
Globally, most stock indices ended lower after a US Federal Reserve official yesterday indicated its bond-buying programme could be scaled back as early as next month.
On the Sensex, Tata Motors, which posted a 24 per cent decline in first-quarter profit, dropped 2.96 per cent to Rs 278.85. Reliance Industries gained 3.64 per cent to Rs 871.
IT, auto and FMCG stocks suffered losses, while shares in realty, metal, power, refinery and consumer durables gained.
Asian stock markets closed mostly lower, with the exception of Singapore's Straits Times index. Japan's Nikkei 225 index dropped 4 per cent after overnight losses in the US on monetary-policy concerns, along with gains for the yen.
European stocks were lower in early trade, with the CAC, DAX and FTSE all down.
In the domestic market, Tata Motors led 15 shares on the Sensex lower, including HDFC (2.95 pc), TCS (2.72 pc), Sun Pharma (2.56 pc), ITC (2.3 pc), Bajaj Auto (2.11 pc), Larsen and Toubro (1.8 pc), M&M (1.35 pc), HDFC Bank (1.07 pc), Hero MotoCorp (1.03 pc) and Infosys (1.03 pc).
The gainers on the index included Tata Power, which rose 7.85 pc, followed by Sterlite Ind 5.04 pc, Tata Steel 4.58 pc, SBI 4.44 pc, Jindal Steel 4.3 pc, Reliance Ind 3.64 pc, BHEL 2.61 pc, Dr Reddy's Lab 2.55 pc, Coal India 1.86 pc, ONGC 1.79 pc, Hindalco 1.29 pc, NTPC 1.19 pc and Bharti Airtel 1.05 pc.
Among sectoral indices, S&P BSE-IT dropped by 1.6 pc, followed by S&P BSE-Auto 1.46 pc, S&P BSE-FMCG 1.37 pc and S&P BSE-Teck 1.16 pc. S&P BSE-Realty shot up 5.04 pc, followed by S&P BSE-Metal 3.31 pc, S&P BSE-Power 2.82 pc, S&P BSE-Oilgas 2.76 pc, S&P BSE-PSU 2.40 pc and S&P BSE-CD 1.04 pc.
The market breadth turned positive, with 1,249 stocks gaining, 1,042 declining and 141 unchanged. Total turnover rose to Rs 1,879.26 crore from Rs 1,682.11 crore yesterday.