The BSE benchmark Sensex on Wednesday snapped a three-day winning run to end around 13 points lower as cautious investors booked profits in stocks like ICICI Bank, HDFC, TCS and Tata Steel ahead of monthly settlement in the derivative segment.
Sensex, which had gained 487 points in the last three sessions and reached one-week highs, declined by 13.18 points, or 0.07% to 20,147.64. Tracking overnight gains in US where Dow Jones Industrial Average hit record high, Sensex had touched intra-day high of 20,216.49 at the outset on Wednesday but trading was marred by bouts of volatility.
Traders said investors also appeared to be avoiding taking fresh positions ahead of Friday's fourth quarter GDP data release while a weak rupee, which touched a 10-month low on Wednesday, was fanning fears that inflation will rise soon.
Similarly, wide-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty eased by 6.95 points, or 0.11% to 6,104.30.
"Tomorrow is Futures and Options (F&O) expiry day and volatility is likely to be seen within 6050-6150 levels. Nifty has shown good recovery from lower levels...," said Nidhi Saraswat, Senior Research Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio Limited.
However, MCX-SX flagship index, SX40 on Wednesday closed 0.9 points, or 0.01%, higher at 11,948.17.
Selling was more confined to recent outperformers like Infosys, Tata Consultancy, ICICI Bank, GAIL India, HDFC, State Bank of India, BHEL, Maruti and L&T.
In 30-share Sensex, 17 stocks declined, while 12 gained led by Sun Pharma which rose 7.09 % and hit all-time high. Reliance Industries (RIL) inched up by 0.49% on selective buying and saved the market from a major fall.
Sectorally, the BSE Realty sector index fell the most by 2.50% to 1,786.45, followed by 1.13% drop in metal index, banking index lost 0.82% and power index by 0.77%.