The Indian equity indices on Wednesday finished the holiday-shortened week on a lower note, extending their fall for the third straight session. The domestic indices erased their respective initial gains in a choppy trading session as investors drew a grim picture of the inflation scenario. Retail inflation surged to a 17-month high of 6.95 per cent in March. On the global front, U.S. monthly consumer prices increased by the most in 16-1/2 years in March, while inflation in Britain hit a 30-year high.
Back home, the 30-share BSE Sensex tanked 237 points or 0.41 per cent to close at 58,339, while the broader NSE Nifty moved 55 points or 0.31 per cent lower to settle at 17,476. Sensex gyrated more than 650 points during the day before settling lower.
Markets will remain closed on Thursday and Friday on account of Mahavir Jayanti/Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar Jayanti and Good Friday, respectively. It will reopen on April 18 after a four-day break.
Mid- and small-cap shares finished on a mixed note today as Nifty Midcap 100 index inched 0.03 per cent down and small-cap rose 0.19 per cent.
Nine out of the 15 sector gauges -- compiled by the National Stock Exchange -- ended in the red. Nifty Bank and Nifty Financial Services underperformed the index by falling as much as 0.87 per cent each. Nifty Auto slipped as much as 0.84 per cent.
On the stock-specific front, Maruti was the top Nifty loser as the stock cracked 2.28 per cent to Rs 7,445. HDFC twins (HDFC and HDFC Bank), Dr Reddy's and Tata Motors were also among the laggards.
Although, the overall market breadth stood positive as 1,852 shares advanced while 1,547 declined on BSE.
On the 30-share BSE index, HDFC twins, Maruti, Dr Reddy's, Asian Paints, Bajaj Finserv, PowerGrid and Kotak Mahindra Bank were among the top losers.
In contrast, ITC, Sun Pharma, Hindustan Unilever, SBI, NTPC, L&T, M&M, Bajaj Finance and Infosys settled in the green.