Mumbai: Market played into the hands of bears for the fifth day today as the Sensex ended at fresh two-weak low of 26,308 and the Nifty slipped below the key 8,100-mark, still cautious about how demonetisation will pan out.
The Bank of Japan (BoJ), on its part, kept monetary policy steady and offered a brighter view of the economy.
There were geopolitical worries following deadly attacks in Europe. The rupee weakened to end at 68.03, which clouded sentiment.
The index dropped another 66.72 points, or 0.25 percent, to end at 26,307.98 -- its lowest closing since December 7. It moved between 26,435.56 and 26,241.43 today. The gauge had lost 323.12 points in the previous four sessions.
The 50-share NSE Nifty below the 8,100 mark to close lower by 21.95 points, or 0.27 percent, to end at 8,082.40, after shuttling between 8,124.10 and 8,062.75.
"Though the finance minister announced relief measures for small traders, markets were seen eyeing the cascading effect of demonetisation," said Anand James, Chief Market Strategist, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services.
FIIs preferred to keep their volume lower in view of approaching year-end holiday season as they pulled out funds from emerging markets, traders said.
Banking, healthcare and metal sectors saw the maximum decline. However, buying interest in select sectors like IT and consumer durables checked the slide.
SBI was hardest hit, plunging 2.62 percent, followed by ICICI Bank 2.18 per ent. Bajaj Auto, Lupin, Tata steel, Hero MotoCorp, Adani Ports, Hindustan Unilever and Axis Bank retreated too.
Asian stocks ended largely mixed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.50 percent and Shanghai Composite was down 0.81 percent.
Japan's Nikkei ended higher by 0.50 per cent after the Bank of Japan boosted its view of the world's number three economy as exports picked up on the yen slide.
Europe too was mixed in nervous trade after the deadly attacks in Germany and Turkey, with Frankfurt falling 0.10 percent and Paris 0.22 percent. London's FTSE was up 0.08 percent.
As many as 19 scrips out of 30-share Sensex pack fell.
The BSE Banking index was down 1.26 percent, followed by healthcare 1.13 percent, PSU 0.90 percent, metal 0.87 percent and auto 0.84 percent.
Mid-cap and small-cap too fell by 1.40 percent and 0.92 percent, respectively, on continued offloading of positions by retail investors.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 535.77 crore yesterday, as per provisional data.
"The optimism in US Fed chair speech on the US job market and unwinding of FII inflows are keeping emerging markets less attractive," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services.
The market breadth remained negative as 1,777 stocks ended lower, 832 closed higher while 144 ruled steady.
The total turnover on BSE amounted to Rs 2,470.27 crore, slightly higher than Rs 2,422.75 crore registered during the previous trading session.