Stock markets grappled with year-end fatigue, with benchmark Sensex ending flat in a lacklustre trade amid low participation from foreign institutional investors.
Moving in a narrow range, the Bombay Stock Exchange bellwether Sensex kept shifting marginally between the positive and the negative terrain to finally settle 3.51 points or 0.02% lower at 20,025.42.
Witnessing a similar trend, the National Stock Exchange wide-based Nifty slipped marginally by 2.10 points to finish at 5,996.00.
Experts said that the benchmark indices struggled for a specific direction throughout the day and were stuck in a narrow trading band due to lack of FII participation and global cues before year-end.
"We mostly expect a volatile week owing to the F&O expiry on Thursday. Also, with trading volumes thin, movements in markets can be accentuated. The Indian indices are unlikely to either run away or slide in the near term and will mostly take their cues from the overseas markets," IIFL Head of Research Amar Ambani said.
A fall of 0.75% in the energy giant Reliance Industries, which carries the maximum weight on the benchmark Sensex contributed the most to the weakness in the key index.
Besides, auto giant Tata Motors emerged as the worst performer in the 30-share index with a loss of 2.53%.
Top lenders ICICI Bank and SBI too turned out to be show spoilers with a fall of 0.92% and 0.90%, respectively.
However, defying the dullness in the banking peers, private sector lender HDFC Bank grabbed investors' attention and advanced by 2.02%, becoming the biggest Sensex gainer. Besides, Mortgage lender HDFC witnessed a rise of 0.60 per cent.
Eighteen of the 30-Sensex components ended the day with modest gains, with telecom giants Reliance Communications and Bharti Airtel erasing yesterday's losses as the former rose 1.72% while the latter surged by 0.18%.
The oil & gas, auto and the PSU stocks were among the major laggards, while FMCG, pharma and the telecom stocks were among the gainers.
A gain of nearly one% in FMCG giant ITC was instrumental in making the sectoral index best performer among the 13 indices.
On the global front, Asian stock markets ended weak as the investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of the release of key US home price data later in the day. While China's Shanghai declined by 1.79%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng saw a dip of 0.93%.
European markets, however, were trading firm in the afternoon session.