On the flip side, metal and mining shares bucked the trend and shone across the board after the Cabinet today cleared an amendment in the new mining law.
The S&P BSE Sensex shed 171 points to end at 24,623 and the Nifty50 lost 46 points to end at 7,486.
The broader markets underperformed the larger peers with BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices closing 0.2%-0.4% lower.
“Markets have always tested the direct bottom line recovery from the lower levels. A crucial level of 7,400 will be seen for the Nifty.
If Nifty slips below that particular level, further downside can be seen.
Further, slight weakness is seen in the European peers and US markets which has hurt the sentiments.
Possibility of a rate cut will dictate the trend in the future,” said Alex Mathews, Head of Research, Geojit BNP Paribas.
Asian stocks finished largely in the red with China’s Shanghai Composite down 2% ahead of the February inflation numbers due tomorrow.
In the meanwhile, investors remained edgy after New Zealand’s Reserve Bank made a surprise rate cut raising hopes of further stimulus from the ECB.
Japan’s Nikkei closed 15 higher and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Singapore’s Straits Times closed flat.
European stocks edged lower as participants wait to find out whether the European Central Bank will add more stimulus for the eurozone economy. FTSE 100, CAC 40 and DAX shed 0.3% each.
Oil explorers closed mixed after the government today announced a new Hydrocarbon Exploration & Licencing Policy in an effort to boost production and also streamline several hurdles faced by oil exploration companies.
ONGC gained 0.5%. The company announced a dividend of Rs 0.75 a share. Meanwhile RIL closed 2.8% lower.
In the metal pack, Hindalco, Jindal Steel, Vedanta, SAIL, Coal India, Tata Steel, JSW Steel and NMDC up between 0.1%-3.4%.
The technology pack took a hit in today’s session. Infosys declined 2.5% after a huge block deal.
In opening trades, around 8.2 million equity shares representing 0.36% of total equity of Infosys changed hands, the NSE data showed. Among others, TCS and Wipro declined nearly 1% each.
State-owned engineering major BHEL closed 3% lower. Rating agency CRISIL on Wednesday lowered its rating of long-term bank facilities of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) citing constrained business risk profile of the capital goods player. Larsen & Toubro eased 1.9%.Hindustan Unilever shed 1%. The company and Pond’s HLL ex-Mercury Employees Welfare Association, representing workers at the multinational’s now-closed thermometer factory in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu, both announced the signing of a agreement to settle a long-running dispute on the union’s demand for compensation and rehabilitation.
ICICI Bank closed marginally lower after Moody's on Wednesday said asset quality for ICICI Bank's corporate loans would remain under pressure even beyond March 2016 due to exposure to some big-ticket accounts with weak debt servicing ability. SBI, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank were down 0.9%-1.7% each.
On the gaining side, Maruti Suzuki closed 1% higher. Maruti introduced the Vitara Brezza on Tuesday.
The car, Maruti’s first compact sports utility vehicle, will be priced at between Rs.7.36 lakh and Rs.10.14 lakh.
Bajaj Auto edged up in today’s trade. The company has informed BSE that its board has approved Rs 50 per share dividend.