The Indian equity benchmarks resumed their downward journey after a pause of two sessions on Wednesday as investors turned to profit booking at higher levels amid heightened volatility, analysts said. The benchmarks staged a gap up opening but gave up intraday gains and turned choppy during the second half of the session. The Sensex fell as much as 520 points from the day's highest level and Nifty 50 index touched an intraday low of 16,211 after hitting high of 16,400.
The Sensex fell 110 points or 0.2 per cent to close at 54,209 and Nifty 50 index declined 19 points or 0.12 per cent to settle at 16,240.
"If Nifty sustains above 16,400 it can go up to 16,600 however as long as 16,100 I am bullish on the markets and if it falls below 16,100 it can go down to 15,800-15,700 levels," Santosh Meena, head of research at Swastika Investmart told Outlook Business.
"Most of the negatives like inflation are factored in the recent selloff. Unlike US markets which have entered bear phase, India witnessed a bull market correction and in near term markets will remain choppy but in longer term downside will be limited to 15,000 levels," Meena added.
Twelve of 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended lower led by the Nifty Realty index's 1.75 per cent fall. Nifty PSU Bank, Bank, Financial Services, Metal and Consumer Durable indices also closed lower.
On the other hand, pharma, healthcare and FMCG shares witnessed buying interest.
Mid- and small-cap shares also faced selling pressure as Nifty Midcap 100 index declined 0.2 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index slipped 0.4 per cent.
Power Grid was top Nifty gainer, the stock fell 4.5 per cent to close at Rs 228. Bharat Petroleum, Tech Mahindra, Apollo Hospitals, State Bank of India, Bharti Airtel, Larsen & Toubro, JSW Steel, Bajaj Finserv and NTPC also fell between 1-3 per cent.
On the flipside, Tata Consumer Products, Hindustan Unilever, UltraTech Cement, Shree Cements, Adani Ports and Asian Paints were among the gainers.
The overall market breadth was positive as 1,913 shares ended higher while 1,438 closed lower on the BSE.