Sensex heavyweights Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank and ITC had dragged the index lower by almost 262 points, while buying in SBI, Tata Motors and ONGC gave support.
Reliance Industries alone contributed 53.01 points to the drop in the Sensex. Sectorally, oil and gas, FMCG and bank shares declined, while power, capital goods and healthcare stocks advanced.
The 30-share index opened higher at 19,947.43 and advanced further to 19,978.49 on initial buying. It dropped to 19,658.74 as investors reduced long positions. The Sensex ended at 19,856.24, a loss of 63.97 points or 0.32 per cent.
The 50-share Nifty index on the National Stock Exchange declined 18.6 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 5,873.85. The SX40 index on the MCX Stock Exchange ended 72.51 points lower at 11,778.7.
"As the market approached derivative expiry day, the volatility is increasing," said Nagji K Rita, Chairman & MD of Inventure Growth and Securities. "Post the derivative expiry, one can expect the market to take cues from expectation of quarterly results."
Gainers on the Sensex were led by BHEL, up 7.69 per cent, and Hindalco Industries, which rose 4.19 per cent.
In Asia, barring Hong Kong, which inched up 0.13 per cent, other indices declined, weighed down by concerns that US lawmakers will fail to arrange a budget deal preventing a government shutdown next week. European markets were trading narrowly higher.
Major losers from the Sensex pack were RIL (2.93 pc), HDFC Bank (2.78 pc), M&M (2.62 pc), HUL (1.52 pc), ITC (1.36 pc), Bajaj Auto (1.36 pc), Maruti Suzuki (1.28 pc), Jindal Steel (1.05 pc) and HDFC (1.01 pc).
In gainers, BHEL rose by 7.69 per cent, followed by Hindalco (4.19 pc), Sesa Goa (3.74 pc), NTPC (2.58 pc), SBI (2.39 pc), Sun Pharma (2.17 pc), Tata Motors (1.90 pc), Bharti Airtel (1.89 pc), Dr Reddy's Lab (1.88 pc), ONGC (1.86 pc), Cipla (1.69 pc) and Hero Motocorp (1.53 pc).
Among the sectoral indices, S&P BSE-Oil&Gas dropped by 1.36 per cent, followed by S&P BSE-FMCG (1.12 pc), S&P BSE-Bankex (0.94 pc) and S&P BSE-Realty (0.56 pc).
However, S&P BSE-Power rose by 1.84 per cent, followed by S&P BSE-CG (1.45 pc), S&P BSE-HC (1.27 pc), S&P BSE-Metal (1.17 pc) and S&P BSE-PSU (0.93 pc).
The overall market breadth remained negative as 1,269 stocks ended lower and 1,031 finished higher while 158 rule steady.
Total market turnover was slightly higher at 1,646.37 crore as against Rs 1,614.44 crore yesterday.
Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) bought a net Rs 382.45 crore today according to provisional data from the stock exchanges.