In volatile trade, the BSE benchmark Sensex today closed 22 points down on investors booking profits in ITC, L&T, HDFC Bank, Tata Motors and RIL shares, cutting short a two-day upmove.
The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share barometer, within few minutes of opening, logged a day's high of 19,520.51.
However, it later succumbed to bouts of profit-booking to settle 22.08 points, or 0.11 per cent, down at 19,453.92.
In the last two sessions, the 30-share Sensex had risen by 231.58 points or 1.20 per cent.
Brokers said the market met with hesitancy on profit- booking after the recent upsurge saw Sensex hit two-week high.
Experts said global markets appeared worried over the so-called US fiscal cliff issue. "Efforts to prevent the fiscal cliff seem to be turning difficult. To add to the woes there is a warning from Fitch, which reiterated it may strip the US of its AAA credit rating," said Amar Ambani, Head of Research, IIFL.
A falling Indian market was cushioned to some extent by stock-specific buying in TCS, HUL and SBI and the metal pack - Tata Steel, Jindal Steel, Hindalco and Sterlite Industries.
"European and Asian indices were mixed and did not provide any concrete cues for the domestic market," said Rakesh Goyal, Senior Vice President, Bonanza Portfolio Ltd.
Similarly, the 50-share National Stock Exchange index Nifty fell by 13.20 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 5,916.40.
Across sectors, the consumer durable sector suffered the most falling by 0.97 per cent, followed by the auto sector (0.76 per cent) and the capital goods sector (0.72 per cent).
Asian stocks ended mixed as reports cast doubts over the progress of US budget talks.
Key benchmark indices in Japan and Taiwan were down over a per cent each, while indices in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea moved up in the 0.16-0.32 per cent range.
European stocks were also trading mixed in the afternoon trade as indices in Germany and the UK eased by 0.07 per cent and 0.14 per cent while the index in France moved up by 0.37 per cent.
Turning to the local market, 15 scrips of the Sensex family ended lower. Major losers from Sensex were Sun Pharma (1.99 pc), M&M (1.68 pc), Bajaj Auto (1.37 pc), Wipro (1.32 pc), L&T (1.02 pc) and ITC (0.83 pc).
Amonmg gainers, Hindalco shot up by 2.59 per cent, followed by Jindal Steel (2.27 pc), Tata