In volatile trading, the Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark index Sensex on Monday fell about 40 points to close at 17,839 as rising crude oil prices led to concerns over inflationary pressures and high interest rates.
The Sensex, which had lost 480 points in the previous two sessions, fell another 39.76 points at 17,839.05, as initial gains were capped by profit selling on concerns that surging crude oil prices would lead to high inflation and further hike in interest rates, hitting corporate margins.
In a choppy trade, the gauge touched the day's high of 18,007.73 and a low of 17,792.17 points.
The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty also fell 8.95 points to 5,364.75 after moving between 5,413.30 and 5,348.20.
Crude oil rose in Asia as Western forces staged air strikes to halt Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's attacks on civilians.
The sentiment remained weak despite a firm trend in the Asian region and higher openings in Europe.
In the 30-BSE index components, 13 stocks closed higher while 17 ended in the negative territory. The two heaviest with 23 per cent weightage -- Reliance Industries and Infosys Technologies -- closed with losses.
While the fall was led by stocks in realty, IT, tech, consumer durables and capital goods, the shares of healthcare, banking and FMCG sector rose and saved the market from a sharp decline.
With the general weakening trend, the smallcap sector index fell by 0.29% to 7,775.36 and midcap index by 0.27 per cent to 6,492.30.