Spiralling inflation combined with contraction in industrial output amid economic slowdown fears rattled investors sentiment with the benchmark CNX Nifty plunging by 43 points on the National Stock Exchange (NSE).
Rate sensitive counters, including financials, bank, metal, auto, infra and energy-related stocks bore the brunt of the selling on dashing hopes of an interest rate cut to boost the struggling economy.
However, consistent buying in technology and healthcare stocks capped the downside.
Even good earning from the tech major Infosys, which reported a 25 per cent jump in its consolidated net profit for the quarter ended did little to boost spirits on bourses.
The battle with inflation and weak economic growth became more challenging today after India's inflation accelerated in March to a three-month high to 5.7 per cent in March from 4.68 per cent in February.
After feeble signs of a recovery, industrial production once again slipped into negative territory and contracted 1.9 per cent in February due to poor performance in manufacturing.
Despite a brief recovery in mid-morning trade, following Infosys' better-than-expected results, markets mostly traded under intense pressure throughout the session as investors turned highly cautious and lightened their positions ahead of key maco-economic data later this week and sluggish global sentiment, traders said.
Elesewhere in Asia and emerging markets, equities ended mixed despite sharp recovery in US overnight after recent rout amid caution ahead of key macro-economic data from the world's second largest economy China tomorrow.
The 50-share Nifty fluctuated between a high of 6,813.40 and low of 6,711.75 before finishing at 6,733.10, a fall of 43.20 points, or 0.64 per cent, over its last close.
DLF, Hindalco, Jindal Steel, Bank of Baroda, IDFC, HDFC, Axis Bank, Sesa Sterlite, BHEL and Tata Steel were among the most prominent index stock losers.
While, United Spirits spurted 11.60 per cent and topped the gainer list after the UK-based global liquor giant Diageo announced to launch second open offer to acquire additional 26 percent stake in the stock. Other smart movers included TCS, Wipro, Heromotoco, HCL-Tech, TechM, Infosys, Hindunilvr, NTPC and Bharti Airtel.
Turnover in the cash segment dropped to Rs 14,304.11 crore from Rs 16,039.99 crore last Friday. A total of 8,087.09 lakh shares changed hands in 66,24,511 trades, while market capitalisation stood at Rs 74,00,939 crore.