In volatile trading, the BSE Sensex on Tuesday fell 39 points as investors booked profits ahead of monthly settlement in the derivatives segments amid concerns that interest rates might go up in view of high inflation and a weak Asian trend.
The 30-share Bombay Stock Exchange index, Sensex, which dipped nearly 1.4 at the outset, erased initial losses and closed 38.96 points down, or 0.20, at 19,545.35 on emergence of late buying in blue-chip at attractive low levels.
The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty fell 6.10 points, or 0.10 percent to 5,868.40, after touching the day's low of 5,791.55.
Brokers said investors remain concerned that the Reserve Bank may hike key policy rates at its next monetary review meeting in a few days to tame high inflation. Besides, Asian stock markets showed a weak trend.
They also said that there was off-loading ahead of this month's settlement in the derivatives segment.
However, there was some fag-end buying in fundamentally strong stocks available at lower levels and higher openings in European markets, which helped erase initial losses, taking the benchmark briefly in the green zone before the close.
Lower-than-expected earnings announced last week by the two most-heaviest stocks on the Sensex -- Reliance Industries and Infosys Technologies -- also weighed down the trading sentiment to some extend.
RIL fell 0.83 at Rs 1,000.75 and Infosys by 0.13 at Rs 2,938.45. The two carry nearly 23 weightage on the Sensex.
The consumer durables sector index suffered the most by dipping 0.80 to 6,490.64, followed by oil and gas index, down 0.35 at 10,093.44.
Realty sector index lost 0.31 to 2,346.03 and IT index by 0.28 to 6,244.40.
On the other hand, a gain in healthcare sector index by 0.42 to 6,191.11 and FMCGT index by 0.08 to 3,738.89 checked the fall.