Heavy selling pressure in IT and Teck (technology, media and entertainment) stocks, coupled with disappointing macro-economic data pulled the Indian equity markets lower on Wednesday.
Besides, investors were cautious ahead of the US Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) meet later in the evening on whether to raise interest rates, and India's Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meet on Thursday.
However, a strong rupee and appreciable amount of inflow of foreign funds pared some losses.
The wider 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) slipped by 2.20 points or 0.02 per cent, to 9,084.80 points.
The BSE Sensex, which opened at 29,452.86 points, closed at 29,398.11 points -- marginally down 44.52 points or 0.15 per cent from the previous close at 29,442.63 points.
The Sensex touched a high of 29,500.08 points and a low of 29,358.91 points during the intra-day trade.
The BSE market breadth was marginally tilted in favour of bears -- with 1,413 declines and 1,404 advances.
On the other hand, the broader markets outperformed the benchmark indices during the day's trade. The S&P BSE mid-cap index surged by 1.06 per cent, and the small-cap index rose by 0.66 per cent.
On Tuesday, the benchmark indices touched new 52-week-high levels following crucial state election results declared on March 11.
The NSE Nifty gained 152.45 points or 1.71 per cent, to close at 9,087 points after touching a new high of 9,120.6 points.
Similarly, the BSE Sensex closed at 29,442.63 points -- up 496.40 points or 1.71 per cent after touching a 52-week high of 29,561.93 points.
"Markets ended with marginal losses snapping a three-day winning streak on Wednesday after trading in a narrow range. Investors were cautious ahead of the US Fed meet outcome this evening (IST) and the GST Council meet on Thursday," Deepak Jasani, Head - Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.
"Major Asian markets have ended on a mixed note. European indices like CAC 40 and DAX traded lower."
Commenting on the currency front, Vijay Singhania, founder and Director of brokerage firm Trade Smart Online, told IANS: "All eyes were set on the currency market with the rupee touching a 16-month high of 65.41 against the dollar. As a result, information technology (IT) stocks were under pressure falling by nearly two per cent."
The Indian rupee strengthened by 13 paise to 65.69 against a US dollar from its previous close of 65.82 to a greenback.
In terms of investments, provisional data with exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) purchased stocks worth Rs 1,141.13 crore, while the domestic institutional investors (DIIs) purchased scrip worth Rs 126.75 crore.
On the sector-specific movement, Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, said: "IT sector stocks traded with bearish sentiments due to profit booking at higher levels, while banking, pharma, oil-gas, media-entertainment and FMCG sector stocks traded with mixed sentiments due to profit booking."
"Auto, textile, aviation and telecom sector stocks traded with firm sentiments due to buying support, whereas power sector stocks traded with bearish sentiments due to selling pressure."
Sector-wise, the S&P IT index plunged by 191.90 points, followed by the Teck index, which declined by 70.26 points, and the oil and gas index, which slipped by 4.28 points.
On the other hand, the S&P BSE automobile index surged by 156.38 points, the banking index rose by 68.20 points and the consumer durables index edged up 63.95 points.
Major Sensex gainers on Wednesday were: Hero MotoCorp, up 1.24 per cent at Rs 3,399.25; Tata Steel, up 1.24 per cent at Rs 478.55; Reliance Industries, up 1.16 per cent at Rs 1,304.40; State Bank of India (SBI), up 0.98 per cent at Rs 277.40; and Tata Motors, up 0.79 per cent at Rs 473.35.
Major Sensex losers were: Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), down 2.42 per cent at Rs 2,500.30; Infosys, down 2.21 per cent at Rs 1,012.10; Hindustan Unilever, down 1.54 per cent at Rs 899.70; Wipro, down 1.39 per cent at Rs 493.50; and Coal India, down 0.85 per cent at Rs 293.05.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)