Sensex and Nifty eased on Wednesday tracking subdued Asian markets on caution ahead of a near-certain Fed rate hike later in the day, while Coal India Ltd fell the most on the NSE after disappointing quarterly results.
Asian markets remained cautious ahead of the U.S. Fed's decision with investors pricing in a quarter percentage point rate hike with two more to follow next year.
Any hint that the Fed may move more aggressively would likely send the dollar higher and jolt emerging markets.
Investors are also worried that volatile global markets could prevent the Reserve Bank of India from cutting rates next year, even after data late on Tuesday showed consumer inflation cooled to a two-year low of 3.63 percent in November.
"The inflation numbers and the Fed rate decision, among others, are factors that the RBI looks at for deciding on its monetary policy," said Siddhartha Khemka, Vice President-Research at Centrum Wealth Management Ltd.
"The possible FII outflow back to US following a Fed rate hike would impact the market," he said.
The Sensex fell 95 points to end at 26,603 and Nifty declined 39 points to close at 8,182.
Financial stocks fell on caution ahead of Fed decision with State Bank of India and ICICI Bank sliding over a percent each.