Mumbai: Both Sensex and Nifty on Wednesday settled almost at their previous level after early gains were offset by fag-end weakness amid uninterrupted capital outflows by foreign funds.
Sentiment took a dramatic turn downwards, particularly in the last one hour of trading, given a lower opening in European markets and clamour for taking profit, traders said.
Investors were cautions after retail inflation rose to a five-month high of 3.36 percent in August due to costlier vegetables and fruits and industrial production grew by 1.2 percent in July against 4.5 percent a year ago.
The 30-share Sensex opened strong, but succumbed to late sell-off before ending marginally higher by 27.75 points, or 0.09 percent at 32,186.41.
The gauge had gained 524.44 points over the past five straight sessions.
However, the 50-share Nifty ended down 13.75 points, or 0.14 percent, at 10,079.30, breaking its four-session long winning streak. It had gained 176.85 points in the previous four trading days.
"Volatility emerged as the market reached near the all- time high, which pulled the index to close negative while FIIs continue to be a net seller," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services Ltd.
Losses in BPCL, IOC, ITC Ltd, Indiabulls Housing and Eicher Motors dragged the index into the negative zone.
Asian markets mostly ended mixed. There was no clear picture in Europe too.
Broader markets turned soft, with the BSE mid-cap and small-cap indices falling by up to 0.69 percent.
In the Sensex kitty, Sun Pharma was the leader by rising 4.02 percent, followed by Reliance Industries (3.13 percent).
Other big gainers of the day were Dr Reddy's, Lupin, Tata Motors, Axis Bank and HDFC Bank, gaining by up to 2.09 percent.
ITC Ltd, Bharti Airtel, HDFC Ltd, Cipla and Wipro were in the losing team.
Sector-wise, the BSE healthcare index rose by 1.15 percent and the bankex gained 0.17 percent.
Oil and gas, PSU, metal, realty, FMCG, capital goods, auto, consumer durables and power ended lower, largely dragged down by profit-booking towards the fag end.