The BSE benchmark Sensex regained most of the steep losses it suffered in early trade, but still ended the day 71 points lower at 26,710.13 after a highly volatile trade amid continuing investor worries over global economy.
The 30-share BSE index resumed lower and immediately nosedived by 310 points to a low of 26,469.42. After moving in erratic fashion through the day, it finally settled at 26,710.13, a fall of 71.31 points or 0.27% from its previous close, extending losses for the fifth straight day.
The barometer has lost 1,120.97 points or 4.03% in five days of selling by investors.
The 50-issue Nifty of NSE also declined by 37.80 points or 0.47% to end the day at 8,029.80.
Healthcare, realty, consumer durable, FMCG and auto segments registered losses, while metal and Oil & Gas attracted good buying interest.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs), the main market mover, continued their selling spree as they sold shares worth Rs 1,247.24 crore Tuesday, as per Sebi data, taking the total to Rs 3,327.67 crore in the last six days since December 9.
"Weak global cues, especially increased fears over financial crisis in Russia kept the global markets volatile.... there could be huge sell-offs from Russian markets by FIIs. Other emerging markets could also be subtly impacted.
"Indian rupee fell to its 13-month low of 63.89 against the US dollar as FIIs were seen exiting Indian and other emerging markets owing to heightened risk over Russia crisis," said Hiren Dhakan, associate fund manager, Bonanza Portfolio.
Of Sensex stocks, 15 closed with losses while 14 finished with gains and HDFC held stable.
Major losers were Cipla at 2.92%, Hero MotoCorp 2.65%, ITC 2.33%, Sun Pharma 2.19%, Bharti Airtel 1.99%, Tata power 1.75%, Maruti Suzuki 1.60%, Bajaj Auto 1.42%, Tata Motors 1.26% and M&M 1.15%.
Sesa Sterlite led the gainer at 3.50 per cent, followed by ONGC 2.16%, SBI 2.08%, Hindalco 1.76% and Tata Steel 1.04%.
The total market breadth remained weak as 1,776 stocks skidded while 1,037 that gained.
There is in need of definite trigger for bourses to recoup and are looking for the outcome of a crucial US Federal Reserve meeting, a trader said. Markets are keenly watching the outcome of Fed meet that would reveal its stance on interest rates today, he added.
Asian stocks closed mixed. Key indices in Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan finished in the red while from China, Japan and Singapore settled in the green.
However, European markets were trading lower in their late morning deals. The CAC was down by 0.58%, the DAX by 0.81% and the FTSE by 0.61%.