In a lacklustre trade, the stock market on Tuesday suffered mild losses with a 97-point decline in its barometer Sensex, as blue-chips like Reliance Industries, TCS, SBI and Tata Motors turned weak.
The 30-share benchmark index settled at 15,873.95 points, down 96.8 points or 0.6%, after moving in a narrow range for most of the trading session.
Experts said that the trading was lacklustre in the absence of any major global cues, as many world markets are closed and the trend was also negative in a few Asian markets like Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan.
The investors were also seen refraining from taking fresh positions in the market on growth concerns and ahead of the monthly expiry in derivatives segment later this week.
Sentiments were also hit because of a weak trend in the Asian region and concerns that foreign funds might pull out money ahead of the re-opening of US markets after a long Christmas break next week, traders said.
"Profit booking was seen across the board in the market today. Christmas holiday kept the market range bound due to lower institutional activities," Parag Doctor of Motilal Oswal Securities said.
"Most of the global markets are closed due to the year end festivities and hence, the cues for the domestic bourses are limited," Shanu Goel of Bonanza Portfolio said.
"Cautious approach is recommended since volatility is expected to remain high during the current weak as December derivative series comes to an end on December 29," Goel noted.
The National Stock Exchange's 50-share index, Nifty also lost 28.50 points, or 0.60%, to close at 4,750.50 points.
The market has been mostly volatile with a downward bias so far this month, although December has historically seen year-end positive rallies in the stocks in previous years.
However, this time around there have been only a few bouts of positive movements, including one yesterday and during the two trading sessions last week -- which were largely sees as year-end relief rallies.
The Sensex is currently trading with a loss of about 1.5% so far this month, when the index has gained in seven trading sessions and has lost ground on eleven days.
In Tuesday's trade, DLF, Cipla, Coal India, Tata Steel, Tata Motors, NTPC and JP Associates were among the biggest Sensex losers with 2-3% losses.
Among the heavyweight stocks, RIL slipped 1.01%, Infosys was down 0.42%, ICICI Bank shed 0.4% and HDFC Bank was down 0.7%. Public sector lender SBI also dropped 1.3%.
Tata Power, Bajaj Auto, ONGC and ITC were among the few gainers among the 30 Sensex stocks, while Tata Motors, TCS and Tata Steel also lost value.
Among the sectoral index, only the consumer durable index managed to close in the positive territory, while sell-off was relatively intense in realty, metal, bank and power segments.
The overall market breadth was also negative with just about 42% stocks managing to register gains.
The Sensex is trading with a loss of over 20% so far in the year 2011, which has got only three days of trading left now.
The investor wealth, measured in terms of total market value of all listed stocks, has declined by about Rs 20 lakh crore from close to Rs 73 lakh crore at the beginning of 2011.
In today's trade, the market suffered a loss of about Rs 35,000 crore.