Mumbai: Market remained a picture of cautiousness Monday after the Sensex slipped 66 points to close at 26,777 as investors were on edge ahead of RBI's policy meet tomorrow and a string of upcoming events this month carrying an element of uncertainty.
IT, consumer durables, healthcare and oil and gas stocks cut a sorry figure as investors preferred to stay light on positions ahead of the RBI review.
To be sure, Sensex was off to a better start and advanced on optimistic buying amid foreign fund inflows. But profit-booking set in soon after as the index ended down 65.58 points, or 0.24 percent, at 26,777.45. The gauge had shed 0.11 point during Friday's choppy trade.
Sentiment turned somewhat cautious as a majority of investors expect that the RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan will maintain status quo and hold rates steady in Tuesday's bi-monthly monetary policy meet, after an impressive 7.6 percent GDP growth in 2015-16, brokers said.
The broader NSE Nifty snapped its three-day winning run by falling 19.75 points, or 0.24 percent, to close at 8,201.05 after gyrating between 8,234.70 and 8,186.05.
There were also lingering worries about the outcome of the impending US Federal Reserve meet and uncertainty about a Brexit -- the likelihood of Britain leaving the European Union.
But the silver lining was recently-released upbeat GDP numbers and retention of the above-normal monsoon forecast, which capped the losses a bit.
From the IT space, TCS and Wipro counters saw some selling pressure and fell up to 0.83 percent after the dollar weakened against the rupee. About 60 percent revenue of software exporters' comes in the form of the US dollar.
Out of the 30-share Sensex, 21 scrips ended lower.
Those which lost were Bharti Airtel (2.62 percent), Lupin (2.08 percent), Maruti Suzuki (2.01 percent), Sun Pharma (1.67 percent), Axis Bank (1.60 percent), Hero MotoCorp (1.42 percent) and Coal India (1 percent).
However, Tata Motors, M&M, GAIL, Cipla, ITC and BHEL rose by up to 1.51 percent.
Stocks of engineering major L&T ended 0.49 percent higher at Rs 1,468.10 after the company said its construction arm has won orders worth Rs 2,161 crore.
Shares of state-owned banks such as Oriental Bank of Commerce, Punjab National Bank, SBI, Allahabad Bank and Andhra Bank were lapped up too, which rose by up to 2.85 percent after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said lenders will be empowered and protected for "commercially prudent" settlement of bad debt.
Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 1,585.01 crore last Friday, as per provisional data released by the stock exchanges.
Sector-wise, BSE consumer durables index fell the most by tumbling 1.39 percent, followed by healthcare, technology, oil and gas and IT.
The broader markets, however, threw up a mixed trend, with the mid-cap index falling 0.09 percent and small-cap rising 0.22 percent.
Other Asian shares ended mixed as key indices like Japan's Nikkei fell by 0.37 percent and Shanghai Composite shed 0.16 percent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.40 percent.
European stocks were trading mixed, with FTSE rising 0.72 percent and Paris' CAC dropping 0.10 percent in early trade.