Mumbai: Benchmark stock indices finished in the red for the third session in a row on Tuesday as investors remained edgy over renewed macro-economic concerns triggered by soaring crude oil prices.
In a highly volatile session, the BSE Sensex hit an high of 38,832.61 and a low of 38,518.26. After swinging over 300 points, the 30-share index settled 80.30 points, or 0.21 percent, lower at 38,564.88.
The broader NSE Nifty too slipped 18.50 points, or 0.16 percent, to close at 11,575.95. It also saw an intra-day movement of 81.50 points.
Market participants also looked for further cues from the ongoing earnings season and ongoing general elections, which will keep setting the tone for domestic equities over the next few weeks.
The BSE Sensex was mainly pulled down by financial and auto stocks.
On the 30-share index, Maruti was the biggest loser, shedding 3.60 percent. Other major laggards were Yes Bank, IndusInd Bank, Tata Steel, Hero MotoCorp and NTPC -- ending up to 2.33 percent lower.
On the other hand, ONGC, Sun Pharma, Bajaj Finance, Coal India, Reliance Industries, Infosys, ITC, ICICI Bank, HCL Tech and HUL rose as much as 3.93 percent.
Of the 30 scrips of Sensex, 20 closed in the red and 10 in the green.
Sectorally, telecom and auto emerged as the top losers -- shedding as much as 1.38 percent.
"Market traded in range bound today after witnessing two day's losses on account of sharp surge in crude prices. Investors are likely to remain cautious with the crude prices charting uptrends. Sideways movement is likely to continue during this election period while quarterly results will influence investors to accumulate quality stocks," Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services, said.
Investor sentiment took a beating after US President Donald Trump on Monday decided not to grant sanctions exemptions to any oil customers of Iran, further squeezing Tehran's top export commodity.
Rising crude prices are negative for oil importing countries like India as higher prices lead to widening of fiscal deficit and put the currency under pressure.
Global benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.62 percent higher at USD 74.50 per barrel -- a six-month high level.
Among the financial stocks, Yes Bank was the worst performer, losing 2.33 percent of its share value. Others were Indusind bank, SBI and HDFC twins.
Yes Bank fell after seeing a lot of activity post reports that an inspection of its books reveal a large exposure to real estate companies even as one more inspection was underway, said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research at HDFC Securities.
The Indian rupee, however, staged a marginal 5 paise recovery at 69.62 to the US dollar towards the fag-end of the session on Tuesday.
"The ongoing earnings season will determine the trend in the market. General elections outcome continues to play on the minds of the investor. A stable government at the Centre will help calm investor nerves. Expect investor sentiment to improve post the general election," Hemang Jani, Head - Advisory, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas, said.
Meanwhile, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold equities worth Rs 237.47 crore on Tuesday, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) purchased shares to the tune of Rs 198.35 crore, provisional data available with stock exchanges showed.
Elsewhere in Asia, markets in China, South Korea and Japan ended on a choppy note.
After a long Easter weekend, European equites started off on Tuesday on a mixed note.