The Indian equity benchmarks snapped their three-day winning streak dragged by losses in index heavyweights like HDFC, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Infosys, Axis Bank, Titan and Larsen & Toubro. The Sensex fell as much as 392 point and Nifty touched an intraday low of 17,405. However, the losses were capped as Asian Paints, State Bank of India, TCS and ICICI Bank witnessed buying interest. Investors were seen booking profits after three days of gains wherein the Sensex and Nifty rose over 3.5 per cent, analysts said.
The Sensex ended 20 points lower at 58,787 and Nifty 50 index declined 6 points to close at 17,511.
"Two events in the coming months are likely weighing on equity markets - quarterly earnings and India's budget," Sumit Pokharna, vice president research at Kotak Securities told news agency Reuters.
Shares of billionaire stock investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala-backed Star Health and Allied Insurance Co opened at a 6 per cent discount to the offering price before quickly reversing course to trade 4.4 per cent higher. However, they failed to hold on to those gains.
Eight of 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended higher led by the Nifty PSU Bank index's 2.6 per cent gain. Realty, Oil & Gas, Media and Metal indices also gained between 0.5-2.5 per cent.
On the other hand, Financial Services, FMCG, IT and Consumer Durable shares witnessed a mild selling pressure.
Mid- and small-cap shares outperformed their larger peers as Nifty Midcap 100 and Nifty Smallcap 100 indexes rose nearly 1 per cent each.
Asian Paints was top Nifty gainer, the stock rose 3.2 per cent to close at Rs 3,279. Grasim, SBI Life, State Bank of India, Bharat Petroleum, Tata Consultancy Services, JSW Steel, Mahindra & Mahindra and Bajaj Finserv also rose between 0.5-1.35 per cent.
On the flipside, Divi's Labs, Titan, HDFC, Tata Consumer Products, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank, Coal India, UPL, Wipro and Eicher Motors were among the gainers.
The overall market breadth was positive as 2,099 shares ended higher while 1,167 closed lower on the BSE.