The Sensex, which had climbed to one-month high by rising 470 points in last six sessions, opened weak. It quickly fell to the day's low of 18,736.45, down 166 points on overnight losses in Wall Street with investors focussing on fiscal worries of the US.
Brokers said the market entered a correction mode as investors booked profits after the recent upsurge and a weakening trend in Asia. ICICI Bank, L&T and pharma stocks Dr Reddy's and Sun Pharma saw losses after recent gains.
However, the Indian stock market started recovering on heavy buying in Tata Motors, Bharti Airtel and SBI. Tata Motors rose over five per cent on robust numbers from JLR while SBI over 1.3
per cent gained ahead of earnings.
With Europe opening higher on approval of austerity package by Greece and hopes of more steps from European Central Bank in a meeting later today, the 30-share Sensex finally closed at 18,646.26, down 56.15 points or 0.30 per cent from yesterday's level.
The two most influential stocks on indices - Reliance Industries and Infosys - did not help the recovery as they fell 0.5-1 per cent. In 30-share Sensex, 20 stocks declined while ten ended in the positive zone.
"Weak international cues resulted in sharp a gap down opening for Indian markets. Although buying emerged and was sustained for the rest of the day, it was not able to bring the Sensex and Nifty into positive territory," said Milan Bavishi, Head Research, Inventure Growth & Securities.
Similarly, the NSE index Nifty closed at 5,738.75, down 21.35 points, or 0.37 per cent.