In volatile trading, the benchmark Sensex on Thursday failed to maintain early gains and ended down 44.45 points at 25,201.80, led by losses in ONGC and RIL scrips, as oil continued its upmove on fighting in Iraq.
The Sensex resumed higher at 25,327.09 and firmed up further to a high of 25,425.85 on initial buying mainly in realty, IT, Teck and power counters. This was on account of overnight rise in the US market after US Federal Reserve gave a positive assessment of the world's largest economy and committed to retaining its accommodative monetary policy.
Stocks of ONGC, India's largest state-owned oil explorer, plunged 5.13%, the most in three years, GAIL lost 1.88%, while RIL fell 2.38%, the most in a month.
Shares of state-run oil companies, HPCL plunged 3.97% and BPCL lost 4.67%. Reports saying higher gas pricing may be allowed only for incremental output, also hit investor appetite.
Pulled down heavy losses in oil & gas shares, the 30-share Sensex declined afterwards to 25,069.66 before settling at 25,201.80, showing a loss of 44.45 points or 0.18%. On Wednesday, it had slipped about 275 points.
The CNX 50-share Nifty dropped by 17.50 points, or 0.23%, to close at 7,540.70 on Thursday.
Data showing Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth a net Rs. 366.18 crore on Wednesday, failed to lift sentiment.
Jignesh Chaudhary, Head of Research, Veracity Broking Services said: "Investors are being watchful as growing tension in Iraq has created negativity in the market."
Oil prices rose in afternoon Asian trade after Washington today weighed calls for air strikes on militants bearing down on Baghdad.
The US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for July rose 44 cents to USD 106.41 while Brent crude for August gained 18 cents to USD 114.44 a barrel.
Rising oil prices threaten to inflate the fuel import bill and push inflation higher in the Indian economy.
Asian markets ended mixed as crude oil rose. Key indices in China, Hong Kong and Singapore dropped while indices in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan moved up.
European markets were trading higher as investors cheered the Fed's comment that US interest rates would stay low for some more time. Key benchmark indices in the UK, France and Germany moved up by 0.83% to 0.95%.
Back home, 23 scrips out of the 30-share Sensex pack ended lower while seven finished higher.
Major losers from the Sensex were ONGC (5.13%), Maruti Suzuki (2.48%), Reliance Industries (2.38%), Coal India (1.94%), Gail India (1.88%) and SBI (1.21%). HDFC Bank (1.00%), Tata Power (0.81%) and Larsen & Toubro (0.66%) fell, among others.
However, TCS rose by 2.23%, followed by Infosys 2.09%, M&M 1.41%, Wipro 1.25%, Sun Pharma 1.09%, Tata Motors 1.06%, Dr Reddy's Lab 1.05% and HUL 1.05%.
Among the S&P BSE sectoral indices, Oil&Gas fell by 3.11%, Bankex 0.91%, Power 0.80% and Capital Goods 0.60% while IT rose by 1.89% and Teck 1.36%.
Total market remained negative as 1,586 stocks closed with losses while 1,406 finished with gains. Total turnover fell to Rs. 3,883.53 crore from Rs. 4,288.98 crore yesterday.