Registering losses for the fourth straight day, the BSE benchmark Sensex on Wednesday closed 32 points lower as a sharp rebound in industrial growth during October and retail-level inflation inching up to 9.9 % in November, dimmed interest rate cut hopes.
The Sensex, which had lost nearly 100 points in the past three trading sessions, fell further by 31.88 points, or 0.16% to 19,355.26. The gauge touched the day's high of 19,478.79 in early trade but failed to sustain momentum after IIP and inflation data were released.
The 30-share index was dragged down by financial stocks, including HDFC, ICICI Bank and SBI. HUL, L&T, ONGC, BHEL and Tata Motors also were among the 20 losers.
Similarly, the broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty fell by 10.80 points to 5,888 points, after rising to 5,924.60 at the outset.
While retail inflation rose to 9.90% in November, from 9.75% in October, the industrial output growth rate bounced back to 8.2% in October compared to 5% decline in the same month last year.
"The IIP number failed to excite the markets as they likely focused on the impact of this data on RBI's interest rate decision next week (December 18). We believe RBI will not reduce rates at mid-quarter policy review," said Dipen Shah, Head - Private Client Group Research, Kotak Securities.
The capital goods, metal and banking sectors suffered the most today.
Brokers said trading remained listless as they reduced their holdings despite a firming trend in Asian and European stock markets.
The benchmark Indian indices were cushioned to some extent today by rise in Reliance Industries, ITC, M&M, Bajaj Auto and HDFC Bank stocks that gained.