Snapping a nine-day winning trend, the Sensex on Tuesday closed 46 points lower at 18,496.01 on double-digit retail inflation data for August and investors adopting caution after recent gains amid weak global cues.
After opening weaker, the BSE benchmark index witnessed choppy trade for most of the session. It touched the day's high of 18,580.48 but failed to sustain gains with TCS, RIL and ICICI Bank falling in 1-3% range.
There was, however, good buying support in Bhel, SBI and Gail that rose in 3-5.5% range with PSU shares among the best performers today.
Jindal Steel, Infosys and Bharti Airtel saw some demand.
Brokers said sentiment soured on reports that soaring vegetable prices pushed up the retail inflation to double digits at 10.03% in August, up from 9.86% in the previous month.
The 30-share index finally closed at 18,496.01, down 46.30 points or 0.25%. In the previous nine days, Sensex rose over 1,200 points to levels last seen in July, 2011.
The 50-share NSE index Nifty also fell by 9.95 points, or 0.18%, to 5,600.05, after touching high of 5,620.55.
"Retail inflation hasn't come down. While rain deficit has now come down to 6%, inflation is still a major worry... Market was also down as some profit booking was seen in RIL," said Kishor P Ostwal, CMD, CNI Research Ltd.
RIL fell 2.11% to Rs. 855.20 after the price on Monday rose above ongoing maximum buyback price of Rs. 870.
Traders also said activity remain subdued ahead of market holiday on account of Ganesh Chaturthi on Wednesday.
Across BSE indices, Oil and Gas fell 1.13%, followed by IT (0.54%), Healthcare (0.22%), Metal (0.19%). The PSU index, however, gained 1.54% on Tuesday.
Globally, France's CAC, Germany's DAX and the UK's FTSE were down by up to 1% in afternoon deals. Most Asian markets also ended lower.
Meanwhile, the rupee pared early losses and regained 53-levels on dollar selling by corporates.