The BSE Sensex fell for fourth straight session and closed over 64 points down today hurt by losses in ICICI Bank, Infosys Ltd and Reliance Industries (RIL) share prices as investors continued to adopt a cautious stance ahead of quarterly earnings.
Data showing the country's service sector output again falling in December and negative cues from global markets also affected the domestic sentiment, traders said.
However, midcap and smallcap shares continued to outshine its larger peers.
The 30-share BSE Sensex fell 64.03 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 20,787.30 as 21 constituents ended in the red. Intra-day, it had touched the low of 20,721.98. Tata Power, State Bank of India (SBI) and Hero MotoCorp were among the biggest losers.
The BSE benchmark has now lost over 383 points in this calendar year and is yet to close on a positive note so far.
The 50-share NSE index Nifty closed down 19.70 points, or 0.32 per cent, to end at 6,191.45. However, SX40 index of MCX Stock Exchange ended 6.29 points up at 12,390.96.
Earlier today, the HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers Index for the services industry fell to 46.7 in December from 47.2 in November, registering the sixth consecutive monthly drop in output levels.
Later, government data showed gross direct tax collections rose 12.33 per cent to Rs 4.81 lakh crore during the first nine months of this financial year.
Infosys, which fell 1.44 per cent, is the first among bluechips to kick off December quarter earnings when it releases earnings on January 10.
The rupee continued to be sluggish and was last trading at 62.35 levels against the dollar when stock markets closed.
The BSE Midcap index closed 0.35 per cent higher while the Smallcap barometer jumped 0.95 per cent.
In the smallcap space, Mastek shares surged over 11 per cent on ahead of the January 8 board meet to consider equity buyback. Financial Technologies jumped more than 10 per cent.
Sectorally, the BSE Banking sector index suffered the most by losing 1.13 per cent, followed