Mumbai, Apr 4: After making gains for three consecutive sessions, the BSE benchmark Sensex fell 111 points to close at 17,486.02 today on profit-booking ahead of 4-day trading break amid weak global markets.
Besides, analysts said that investors were cautious ahead of RBI's annual monetary policy on April 17 and fourth quarter corporate earning results.
Realty, metals, banking and refinery stocks faced selling pressure, while some power and consumer durables stocks were in demand. ICICI Bank, RIL, HDFC, Bharti Airtel, Jindal Steel, L&T, HDFC Bank, Gail India, Tata Motors and Sterlite faced sell-off.
The BSE 30-share Sensex opened lower and remained in the negative zone throughout, closing at 17,486.02 -- down 111.40 points or 0.63 per cent. In the last three sessions, it had risen 538.81 points or 3.16 per cent.
The NSE 50-scrip index Nifty fell 35.60 points or 0.66 per cent to 5,322.90.
The Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange will remain closed on Thursday and Friday on account of ‘Mahavir Jayanti' and ‘Good Friday', followed by week-end.
“Volumes were missing. Last 3 days Nifty volumes were very low and today it was lowest in last 50 days. I think traders were hesitant to carry positions ahead of 4 days holiday,” CNI Research CMD Kishor P Ostwal said.
He said only Kingfisher Airline was in action on the buzz that Civil Aviation policy will be out on Monday, allowing 49 per cent stake in domestic carriers. Singapore Airlines, Tatas and a few others are speculated to be interested in the KFA.
On RBI's annual monetary policy meeting on April 17, he said markets are expecting moves by the central bank to infuse liquidity in the system.
Fall in the rupee to over 51 against the US dollar also weighed negatively on the market sentiment as oil as well as other importers will be hit.
Global markets were weak, with key indices in Japan, Singapore and South Korea closing down by up to 2.29 per cent while markets from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan were closed. European indices were sharply lower in the afternoon.
The CAC (France), the DAX (Germany) and the FTSE (UK) were down. US stocks index futures too signalled weak opening today.
Back home, FIIs picked up shares worth Rs 369.20 crore on Wednesday after pumping in Rs 1,297.70 crore on March 30 and April 2.
Overall, 23 of the 30 Sensex scrips closed in the red. Jindal Steel dipped 3.15 per cent, Gail India (2.80 pc), Bharti Airtel (1.99 pc), Sterlite (1.99 pc), ICICI Bank (1.88 pc), Cipla (1.67 pc), DLF (1.35 pc), HDFC (1.18 pc), M&M (1.14 pc), HUL (1.08 pc), L&T (0.94 pc) and RIL (0.71 pc).
However, BHEL gained by 3.54 pc, Hindalco - 0.99 pc and Maruti Suzuki - 0.75 pc.
Among the sectoral indices, BSE-Realty fell 1.35 pc, Metals - 1.02 pc and Bankex - 0.75 pc. Power rose by 0.42 pc.
Despite fall in the Sensex, buying in second line stocks kept the total market breadth positive with 1,446 counters gaining, as against 1,344 closing with losses.
The total turnover was relatively low at Rs 2,126.50 crore from Rs 2,238.97 crore yesterday.