Hit by profit-booking at two-year high levels, the BSE benchmark Sensex on Tuesday closed below the 20,000-mark by losing over 120 points and the NSE Nifty slipped below the 6,100-level amid mixed global cues.
Sensex, which had gained 284 points in last three trading sessions, commenced the day higher at 20,156.86 before ending with a loss of 120.25 points, or 0.60%, at 19,981.57.
Across-the-board selling resulted in all 13 BSE sectoral indices closing lower with losses between 0.47% and 1.98%. Realty, consumer durables, FMCG, PSU and capital goods segments lead the down-slide, said brokers.
Fall in Hindustan Unilever (HUL), ITC, SBI, HDFC Bank, Tata Motors, TCS, GAIL India, L&T, Infosys, ICICI Bank, Bharti Airtel and Hindalco mainly weighed on the 30-share Sensex.
Dealers said profit-booking picked up as benchmark indices in the current calender year had so far gained close to 4% on economic reforms, continued capital inflows, strong corporate earnings and hopes of rate cut on January 29 by RBI.
The broader 50-share S&P CNX Nifty of the NSE also fell back by 33.80 points or 0.56% to 6,048.50 after breaching the 6,100 mark for the first time in two years.
FMCG major Hindustan Unilever Ltd on Tuesday reported a 15.59% jump in net profit to Rs 871.36 crore for the third quarter ended December 31, 2012. However, its shares slipped nearly 2.9%.
Trading sentiment was hit as global markets depicted a mixed trend as investors awaited cues from key US corporate earnings to be released later today.
"European indices were showing mixed trend...Domestic market breadth was negative and profit-selling in lead stocks after recent gains led to pressure," said Rakesh Goyal, Senior Vice President, Bonanza Portfolio.
However, minor gains in RIL, ONGC and Bajaj Auto and around 1.5% rise each in NTPC and Sun Pharma saved the market from a major fall.