Domestic stock markets closed in the red on Wednesday as investor sentiment remained bearish amid a plunging rupee and weak global cues. S&P BSE Sensex dropped 139.61 points, or 0.37 per cent, to settle at 38,018.31, closing loser for a sixth session in a row. The Nifty ended 43.35 points, or 0.38 per cent, lower at 11,476.95. 25 of its 50 stocks finished in the negative zone. Top laggards on the Nifty50 were Hindustan Unilever, Bharti Infratel and Bharti Airtel, closing with losses of between 2.7 per cent and 4.2 per cent.
On the 30-share Sensex, losses were led by FMCG major Hindustan Unilever, which dropped 2.4 per cent to its worst close since June 28. Other laggards on the Sensex included Reliance Industries (RIL) and Kotak Mahindra Bank, which fell 1.48 per cent and 1.96 per cent respectively.
The downside was limited by buying in pharma and metal stocks.
Nifty Pharma -- an NSE sectoral index -- finished with gain of 0.96 per cent. The gains were led by Biocon, which gained 5.33 per cent to close at Rs 626. The Nifty Metal also closed 1.05 per cent higher. Shares in National Aluminium Company and Hindustan Zinc finished over 4 per cent, which led the gains.
Market sentiment was also dampened today after a monthly survey showed that India's services sector activity fell in August from July's 21-month peak as new business orders declined.
Meanwhile, Yes Bank was the top gainer on both the equity indices gaining almost 3 per cent.
The rupee hit an intraday low of 71.968 against the dollar as simmering trade tensions continued to hurt emerging market currencies. That cemented the rupee's position as Asia's worst performing currency with a loss of more than 10 per cent so far this year.
However, NSE Nifty had been on a record-setting run over the last two months, marking fresh highs 11 times in August alone. Meanwhile, the BSE Sensex is Asia's top performing index this year, thanks to strong June-quarter earnings.
(With agency inputs)