The BSE Sensex fell on Tuesday for the fifth session in the last six sessions as renewed worries about the euro zone hit global markets, spurring continued profit-taking in recent outperformers such as ITC Ltd and ICICI Bank.
Domestic shares have struggled ever since the Reserve Bank of India surprised investors with a cautious stance on future rate cuts on Jan 29, dashing some of the optimism that sustained monetary easing would boost economic growth this year.
Investors are also cautious ahead of the budget, to be unveiled later this month, which is seen as a key test of commitment to shoring up finances.
Fitch Ratings said on Monday that India needs to commit to its recent reform measures and meet its fiscal deficit targets putting further pressure on a government keen to retain investment grade ratings.
"At a time when inflation remains high diesel prices are rising we are looking ahead to how the finance minister balances the gap between income and expenditure in the upcoming budget. Till that time markets will continue to be in a narrow range," said RK Gupta, managing director at Taurus Mutual Fund.
The BSE index fell 0.46%, or 91.37 points to end at 19 659.82, marking its lowest close since Jan 1. Shares have fallen 1.94% in six sessions.
The broader NSE index fell 0.51%, or 30.35 points, to end at 5 956.90.
Cigarette maker ITC Ltd fell 1.56%, after gaining 7.3% in January. ICICI Bank Ltd shares fell 1.33%, its third fall in four sessions.
Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd shares fell 3.5%, extending their fall after the company's October-December earnings on Friday disappointed investors.
Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd ended 5.2% lower, after the company reported a net loss of 311.7 million rupees in the October-December quarter.
Jubilant Foodworks Ltd shares fall 8.5% after its December-quarter same store sales grew by 16% versus expectations of 20%.
UCO Bank shares ended 5% lower after reporting disappointing asset quality and rising provisioning expenses.
However, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd rose as 4.14% after the US Food and Drug Administration approved its generic version of ovarian cancer drug Doxil, made by Johnson & Johnson in the US market.
Shares in Sun also gained after subsidiary Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd posted a 42% growth in October-December net profit.
Another blue chip drug maker, Cipla Ltd, gained 1% ahead of its third-quarter earnings on Wednesday.
Shares in United Spirits Ltd gained 2% after media reports that India s securities market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has cleared Diageo Plc's open offer for the Indian company.
A SEBI spokesman told Reuters the regulator has issued final observations on the offer but would not comment beyond that.