Benchmark share indices ended lower on Wednesday, amid weak global cues, as investors booked profits ahead of the September derivative contracts expiry.
The 30-share Sensex ended at 18,632 down 62 points or 0.33 per cent and the 50-share Nifty ended at 5,663 down by 10 points or 0.18 per cent. The Sensex and the Nifty reached an intra-day low of 18,573 levels and 5,639 mark, respectively.
On the global front, Chinese shares fell to their lowest level in more than 43 months on Wednesday with the Shanghai Composite barely holding the 2000-points level as investors continue to fret about the health of the world's second largest economy.
Japan's Nikkei average fell 2 per cent on Wednesday, breaking below the key 9,000 mark and hitting a two-week closing low, as a mass of companies went ex-dividend, while concerns over debt-laden Spain dampened sentiment.
European shares fell sharply and the single currency hit a two-week low on Wednesday as popular opposition within the euro zone to budget austerity measures unnerved investors already worried about a weak global growth outlook. CAC, DAX and FTSE have plunged between 1-2 per cent.
Back home, the rupee recovered marginally after initial losses today on persistent demand for the American currency from banks and its strengthening in the overseas forex markets.
On the sectoral front, BSE Metal, TECk, PSU and Capital Goods indices declined by almost 1 per cent each. However, defensive sectors like FMCG and Healthcare surged by almost 1 per cent each.
From the Metal space, Hindalco [ Get Quote ], Tata Steel [ Get Quote ], Jindal Steel and Sterlite melted between 0.2-2 per cent on weakness in the London Metal Exchange.
L&T and BHEL slumped between 0.3-1 per cent on account of profit booking after sharp gains recently.
Banking and financial shares like HDFC Bank [ Get Quote ], HDFC and ICICI Bank [ Get Quote ] slipped between 0.3-2 per cent. HDFC Bank has said it might slash the minimum lending rate.
"The broad principle is when costs go down; interest rates will also go down. The Asset Liability Committee (ALCO) will decide by how much the base rate will go down," said managing director Aditya Puri, on the sidelines of an event in Mumbai.
Telecom stocks witnessed selling pressure after the Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday said that mobile phone subscribers would not have to pay roaming charges from next year.
At present, GSM operators such as Bharti Airtel [ Get Quote ], Vodafone and Idea Cellular [ Get Quote ] earn 10-12 per cent of their revenues from the national roaming services, which amount to Rs 10,000-Rs 13,500 crore (Rs 100-135 billion).
Bharti Airtel was the top Sensex loser, down nearly 4 per cent.
On the gaining side, Cipla, Hero Moto, SBI [ Get Quote ], ITC, Wipro [ Get Quote ], GAIL and RIL [ Get Quote ] surged between 1-3 per cent.
The broader indices out performed the benchmarks BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices ended higher between 0.3-1 per cent each.
The market breadth ended neutral with 1,448 advancing and 1,445 shares declining.
Shares of institutional lender IFCI crashed nearly 6 per cent at Rs 30.25 after the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) on Tuesday allowed the government to acquire control without making an open offer.
Shares of Gujarat Gas Company [ Get Quote ] were up 4 per cent at Rs 310 after the company late Tuesday announced an interim dividend for the current financial year.
SpiceJet rallied nearly 6 per cent to Rs 37.66 on reports that the company is in advanced talks with two private equity investors to raise at least $50 million via stake sale.
Vijay Mallya owned Kingfisher Airlines took off with nearly 9 per cent gains at Rs 15.70 ahead of its AGM on Wednesday.