Mumbai, Dec 20 Foreign fund outflows, coupled with weak global cues and rupee depreciation, dragged the Indian equity markets lower for the fifth consecutive day on Tuesday.
Besides, broadly negative global indices on the back of Bank of Japan's (BoJ) decision to maintain status quo in its monetary policy review further subdued investors' sentiments.
In addition, investors remained cautious ahead of the December 21 release of minutes of Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meet.
Even the relief measures announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for small traders could not buoy the domestic markets.
The key indices, which started off on a flat-to-negative note, drifted lower and closed in the red, with both the key indices crashing to their lowest levels for the last two weeks.
The wider 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) slipped by 21.95 points or 0.27 per cent to 8,082.40 points.
The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 26,374.56 points, closed at 26,307.98 points -- down 66.72 points or 0.25 per cent from the previous close at 26,374.70 points.
The Sensex touched a high of 26,435.56 points and a low of 26,241.43 points during the intra-day trade.
The BSE market breadth was skewed in favour of the bears -- with 1,777 declines and 808 advances.
The broader markets underperformed the headline indices, with the BSE Midcap index ending lower by 1.40 per cent and the BSE Smallcap by 0.92 per cent.
On Monday, the barometer index had closed lower by 114.86 points or 0.43 per cent, while the NSE Nifty inched down by 35.10 points or 0.43 per cent.
"Domestic markets started the day on a flat note with positive bias, but later the Nifty slipped to the red zone -- heading towards its fifth straight session of losses, due to low trading volumes as the year comes to a close and FIIs (foreign institutional investors) low activity due to Christmas vacation," SMC Global Securities said in a commentary to IANS.
"Though India is better positioned as compared to other emerging markets, but weakening rupee continued to dent the confidence of the market participants."
A major set back to emerging markets (EMs) inflows and currencies occurred after the US Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen pointed out that recent data has shown that US jobs market was at its strongest level in a decade.
The Indian rupee weakened by 17 paise to 68.04 against a US dollar from its previous close of 67.87 to a greenback.
In terms of investments, provisional data with exchanges showed that the FIIs sold stocks worth Rs 685.93 crore, whereas the domestic institutional investors (DIIs) purchased scrip worth Rs 418.93 crore.
According to Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, the CNX Nifty traded with bearish sentiments throughout the session due to selling pressure.
"Banking, pharma, auto, oil-gas, textile, aviation and media-entertainment stocks traded with bearish sentiments due to selling pressure," Desai elaborated.
"USD/INR futures prices traded with firm sentiments which pressurised the price movement of the Indian equity markets."
Sector-wise, the S&P BSE banking index plunged by 264.47 points, followed by the healthcare index by 170.44 points, and the automobile index by 168.75 points.
On the other hand, the S&P BSE IT index surged by 95.64 points, the Teck (technology, media and entertainment) index gained 40.47 points, and the consumer durables index rose by 34.06 points.
Major Sensex gainers on Tuesday were: Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), up 2.20 per cent at Rs 2,337.75; Gail, up 1.11 per cent at Rs 429.50; ITC, up 1.01 per cent at Rs 229.40; Coal India, up 0.99 per cent at Rs 290.55; and NTPC, up 0.97 per cent at Rs 161.80.
Major Sensex losers were: State Bank of India (SBI), down 2.62 per cent at Rs 254.55; ICICI Bank, down 2.18 per cent at Rs 251.60; Bajaj Auto, down 2.13 per cent at Rs 2,590; Lupin, down 1.74 per cent at Rs 1,449; and Tata Steel, down 1.73 per cent at Rs 403.90.
Indo-Asian News Service