Mumbai: Falling for the first time in three days, the benchmark Sensex slipped over 68 points on Tuesday in choppy trade as investors started unwinding their pending positions before the settlement in monthly equity derivatives.
However, smallcap and midcap stocks outshone bluechips.
The BSE Sensex, which had gained 392.41 in past two days, started on a positive note tracking overnight gains in US markets but fell by 68.32 points, or 0.32 percent, to end at 21,032.71 dragged down by HDFC Bank, HDFC and Sun Pharma.
Sesa Sterlite fell over 2 percent after CBI registered a preliminary enquiry against Vedanta Group chief Anil Agarwal in connection with alleged irregularities in Hindustan Zinc disinvestment.
Tata Power slid 3.2 percent, the worst fall in Sensex stocks. However, gains in Infosys, Bajaj Auto and BHEL cushioned the Sensex fall to some extent, traders said.
The 50-share NSE Nifty slid 16.10 points, or 0.26 percent, to end at 6,248.40 hurt by losses in metal and banking scrips. SX40 index of MCX-SX fell 49.05 points to 12,510.16.
"The rally in the US markets which are breaching 6-year high levels did not culminate fully into the Indian markets. The session on Thursday, the last for December series and for the calendar year may turn out to be volatile as we head for the Q3 results season," said Vishal Jajoo, Senior Research Analyst (PCG), Nirmal Bang Securities.
Rupee was last trading at 61.87/88 levels versus US dollar when domestic equity markets closed for the day.
Yesterday, key US indices -- Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 -- carried on their record run in the holiday shortened week as incoming economic data reinforced perception that economic recovery will accelerate in the year ahead.
In broader markets, GMR rose after reports said Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad plans to buy the entire 40 percent stake of the Indian firm in Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen International Airport project for 225 million euro.
Apollo Tyres surged 8 percent on hopes the company will get a better deal to acquire Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.
The session also saw gains in mid-cap housing finance firms like Indiabulls Housing, LIC Housing, Can Fin Homes.
The BSE Metal index fell the most by losing 1.09 percent, followed by Banking index (0.43 pc), Oil and Gas index (0.23 pc), Power index (0.22 pc).
First Published: Tuesday, December 24, 2013, 16:37