Mumbai: The BSE benchmark Sensex Monday fell for the first time in five days by declining 37 points to end at 19,646.21 on fag-end selling in RIL, Infosys, ICICI Bank and TCS shares ahead of industrial production and inflation data tomorrow.
The 30-share index was moving in a narrow range of over 100 points till late afternoon, but selling in the last half an hour in line with weakness in European markets pushed it towards the negative terrain.
The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share barometer resumed nearly stable and moved in a range of 19,754.66 and 19,602.71 before ending at 19,646.21, a fall of 37.02 points or 0.19 percent. In the last four trading sessions, Sensex had flared up by 805.27 points or 4.27 percent.
Similarly, the 50-issue CNX Nifty of the NSE also eased by 3.35 points or 0.06 percent to end at 5,942.35.
Losses in sensex constituents including RIL, Infosys, ICICI Bank, TCS, Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp, ITC, Bajaj Auto and Wipro mainly weighed on the market. Rise in HDFC, Sun Pharma, L&T, M&M and Tata Power restricted the fall.
According to some brokers, market participants are now waiting for the outcome of the index of industrial production for January and consumer inflation data to be announced tomorrow. The inflation data based on wholesale price index (WPI) for February is likely to be released on Thursday.
"While the markets remained sideways for most part of the day, towards the end of the day some early signs of weakness may have set in. And this could result in profit booking in this week," said Milan Bavishi, Head Research, Inventure Growth and Securities.
Meanwhile, signaling some recovery in the global markets, the country's exports for the second straight month in February grew by 4.25 percent while imports also rose by 2.6 percent in February.
Globally, European stocks fell from a over four-year high and Italian bonds slumped after reports said Fitch Ratings downgraded the nation's credit rating.
Asian stocks closed narrowly mixed despite US jobs data beating market estimates, China's positive industrial production and retail sales data in the first two months of 2013. Key benchmark indices in China and South Korea closed lower while those from Japan, Singapore and Taiwan settled up. The Hong Kong index closed stable.
European markets, however, were trading weak in the early deals as investors went on the back foot after last Friday's downgrade of Italy's sovereign credit rating by Fitch.
The CAC was down by 0.33 percent, the DAX by 0.23 percent and the FTSE by 0.03 percent.
Turning to the local market, 19 scrips in 30-share Sensex finished lower while 10 ended higher. Cipla ruled steady.
Major losers from the Sensex pack were Hero Motocorp (2.51 pc), Wipro (1.35 pc), Bajaj Auto (1.33 pc), Jindal Steel (1.24 pc), TCS (1.05 pc), BHEL (0.92 pc), Sterlite Ind (0.89 pc) and RIL (0.86 pc). However, Tata Power rose by 2.28 percent, followed by HDFC (1.91 pc), Sun Pharma (1.79 pc), M&M (1.10 pc) and Gail India (0.97 pc).
Among the sectoral indices, the S&P BSE-CD dropped by 1.38 percent, followed by S&P BSE-IT (0.67 pc), S&P BSE-Metal (0.56 pc), S&P BSE-Teck (0.53 pc) and S&P BSE-Oil & Gas (0.45 pc).
However, the S&P BSE-Realty rose by 1.32 percent and S&P BSE-CG by 0.59 percent.
Second-line stock attracted buying support from retail investors as BSE-Midcap and BSE-Smallcap indices outperformed the Sensex.
The total market breadth turned negative as 1,474 stocks closed with losses while 1,395 ended with gains. Around 134 counters closed steady. The total turnover dropped to Rs 1,907.59 crore from Rs 2,149.54 crore on last Friday.
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 1,283.58 crore last Friday, as per provisional data from the stock exchanges.