Photographs: Reuters SI Reporter in Mumbai
Benchmark share indices ended lower, amid weak global cues, as traders booked profits ahead of the truncated week and February IIP data due for release later today.
Meanwhile, markets came off their day's lows in late trades following a rebound in IT shares ahead of fourth quarter earnings from Infosys early next weeek.
The 30-share Sensex ended down 86 points at 22,629 and the 50-share Nifty closed 20 points lower at 6,776.
The foreign institutional investors continue to invest in Indian equities for the past few weeks and remained net buyers to the tune of Rs 343 crore yesterday as per the provisional data released on the stock exchanges.
Volatility in the markets increased after elections kicked off. India VIX ended at 29.18 rising 22% this week.
The volatility index had closed at 22.69 last Friday.
The rupee was trading lower at 60.27 compared with its close of 60.07, tracking losses in most other Asian currencies.
Traders are awaiting February IIP data due later in the day and consumer price inflation data next week.
Further, weakness in equities is also weighing on the sentiment.
Meanwhile, trade deficit hit a five-month high during March to $10.51 billion as merchandise exports declined and oil imports rose, data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry today showed.
Asian markets ended lower with Japan's Nikkei slumping to its lowest level in six months tracking losses on Wall Street and a firmer yen.
The Nikkei ended down 2.4%, Shanghai closed down 0.2%, Hang Seng slipped 0.8% and Straits Times ended 0.2% lower.
European shares were also trading lower tracking a sell-off in global technology shares.
The CAC-40, DAX, FTSE-100 were down over 1% each.
In the Sensex pack, Reliance Ind, Tata Motors and L&T ended down 1.4-1.8% down contributing the most to the benchmark's decline.
IT majors which were trading lower for most part of the trading session rebounded in late trades to end higher.
Infosys ended up 0.9% after falling over 1% intra-day. TCS gained 1.7% and Wipro ended 1.3% higher.
Bank shares ended lower after the RBI came down heavily on banks for charging different interest rates to customers with similar profiles, saying such discrimination cannot be accepted.
HDFC Bank, SBI, Axis Bank and ICICI Bank were down 0.5-1.2% each.
Auto shares also witnessed profit taking after domestic passenger car sales declined 5.08% to 1,71,489 units in March as compared to 1,80,675 units in the year-ago month.
Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Mah & Mah ended down 1-1.8% each. In the two wheeler segment, Bajaj Auto and Hero MotoCorp ended down 0.8-1.5% each.
However, pharma shares continue to attract buying interest following a rebound in Sun Pharma which gained nearly 2%. Other gainers include Dr Reddy's Labs and Cipla.
Among other shares, Indusind Bank ended lower on the BSE after the RBI said the foreign investors would have to get its prior permission for buying shares in the bank.
The stock ended down 4.5% at Rs 489.
Housing Development and Infrastructure ended 3% up at Rs 78 after Credit Suisse (Singapore) bought over 2 million shares of the Mumbai-based real estate developer for Rs 16 crore through an open market transaction.
NCC ended higher by 13% to Rs 51.45 after hitting 52-week high of Rs 52 on the BSE, on the back of heavy volumes.
Shares of mid and small-cap companies continued their northward journey with both the S&P BSE mid-cap and small-cap indices touching their respective fifteen-month high in intra-day trades today. BSE Mid-cap index ended up 0.1% and Small-cap index ended up 0.7%.
However, the market breadth ended strong with 1,539 gainers and 1,267 losers on the BSE.