The market started off on a firm note on positive global cues, but changed track and slipped into negative territory later and finally ended flat on Tuesday.
Weakness in European markets rendered the mood a bit bearish in afternoon trade.
The Sensex, which rose to around 18,468 early on, but declined to 18,256 later, ended at 18,329.32 (Provisional), down 9.68 points.
The Nifty closed at 5573.25, up 1.85 points or 0.03%.
Realty stocks declined sharply.
Oil, metal and capital goods stocks too mostly ended lower.
FMCG, power and IT stocks ended flat.
Bank and healthcare stocks failed to retain early gains and closed on a mixed note.
Automobile stocks lost their way after a good start, but edged up on modest supper towards the fag end.
Midcap and smallcap stocks drifted lower.
The market breadth was weak.