Snapping two-day rally, the Sensex on Wednesday fell by over 38 points, dragged down by telecom Bharti Airtel that slumped nearly 4%, amid low participation of funds due to strike by public sector banks.
Traders said the sentiment remained lacklustre as global markets were cautious ahead of Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the Euro Group of Finance Ministers, visiting Greece today.
The BSE benchmark index, which had gained 229 points in the last two trading sessions, fell by 38.40 points, or 0.21% to close at 17,846.86.
In the 30-share Sensex, 18 stocks declined led by the largest mobile-phone operator Bharti Airtel which dropped 3.85% on reports that foreign brokerage Credit Suisse has downgraded it.
NTPC, Sterlite, Gail and RIL fell around 1% each.
Dr Reddy's led Sensex gainers, followed by CIL, Infosys and Bajaj Auto.
"Volatility was high as markets pared gains in the latter session and went into negative territory. European indices were also down and caution ahead of the meeting scheduled today between the Greek PM and Eurogroup Head," said Nidhi Sarswat, senior research analyst, Bonanza Portfolio.
Employees of public sector banks have gone on two-day nationwide strike today opposing banking sector reforms and outsourcing of non-core activities, affecting stock market fund flows, said analysts.
They added that a weak trend in Asian markets kept domestic markets lower from the morning and an uninspiring opening in European stocks did not help the cause.
On similar lines, the wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty lost 8.15 points to end at 5,412.85, after moving between 5,433.35 and 5,394.80.