Equities ended the day with modest losses as early gains were erased by a bout of fag-end selling, led by metal stocks which came under heavy selling pressure after the US imposed tariffs on some steel and aluminium imports, fanning fears of a global trade tussle.
The BSE metal index was the biggest loser in today's session after US President Donald Trump signed two proclamations that imposed tariffs on some steel and aluminium imports, sparking fears of retaliatory moves by other countries.
The 30-share Sensex, which remained in the positive zone for the major part of the session, hit a high of 33,519.49 but succumbed to a late sell-off to end at 33,307.14, down 44.43 points, or 0.13 per cent.
The broad-based NSE Nifty, after shuttling between 10,296.70 and 10,211.90, finally ended 15.80 points, or 0.15 per cent down at 10,226.85.
Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth Rs 364.80 crore on net basis while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought shares worth Rs 675.26 crore yesterday, provisional data showed.
"Market started off in a positive territory but absence of major triggers... influenced investors to sell on rally. Global trade fears continue to pull the domestic metal index lower while weakening trend on rupee supported IT companies.
"Market participants are cautiously awaiting CPI and IIP data. Inflation is expected to come down to 4.74 per cent in February which will ease bond yields in the near term," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
In the metals pack, SAIL tumbled 6.40 per cent, Jindal Steel 5.24 per cent, Tata Steel 4.66 per cent, Nalco 2.19 per cent, NMDC 1.85 per cent, Vedanta 1.59 per cent and Hindalco 1.26 per cent.
Other laggards included Adani Ports, Sun Pharma, Tata Motors, NTPC, Maruti Suzuki, Dr Reddy's, Coal India, ONGC, Power Grid and Hero MotoCorp, falling up to 2.21 per cent.
Sector-wise, metal lost 1.94 per cent, followed by bankex 0.77 per cent, PSU 0.68 per cent, infrastructure 0.65 per cent, healthcare 0.61 per cent, power 0.59 per cent, oil & gas 0.36 per cent, realty 0.19 per cent and auto 0.11 per cent.
The teck index gained 0.55 per cent, IT 0.55 per cent and capital goods 0.16 per cent.
The broader markets too came under pressure after investors logged gains at higher levels, pulling down the mid-cap index by 0.35 per cent and small-cap by 0.30 per cent.
Asian markets ended on a firm note after moderate gains on Wall Street overnight.
Japan's Nikkei rose 0.47 per cent, Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.57 per cent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng spurted 1.11 per cent.
European shares, however, were in the red in their early deals, including Frankfurt and Paris, falling up to 0.49 per cent. London's FTSE too shed 0.08 per cent.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)