The BSE Sensex fell on Tuesday as blue chips such as HDFC Bank declined on anxiety over potential foreign outflows should the U.S. Federal Reserve signal winding down of its bond-buying programme later this week.
Banks were among the decliners given that an end to U.S. monetary stimulus could push the rupee lower, delaying any rate cuts from the Reserve Bank of India.
Foreign institutional investors have been sellers of Indian shares for five consecutive sessions, totalling 28.95 billion rupees, according to exchange and regulatory data.
"Investors may continue to use rallies to lighten their positions ahead of Fed's decision," said G. Chokkalingam, executive director and chief investment officer at Centrum Wealth Management.
However, the unemployment level in the Unites States is still above 7 percent, so the Fed pulling out in the near future is definitely ruled out, added Chokkalingam.
The benchmark BSE index fell 0.53 percent, or 102.59 points, to 19,223.28, retreating from its highest close in a week on Monday.
The broader NSE index fell 0.62 percent, or 36.45 points, to 5,813.60.
The Federal Reserve is due to end a pivotal two-day meeting on Wednesday. Markets are keenly waiting to see if Chairman Ben Bernanke comments on when and how the Fed will start reducing the third round of its bond-buying programme known as "quantitative easing".
Blue chips fell, with Larsen and Toubro Ltd
Lenders retreated on worries volatility from a Fed decision to end QE3 could pressure the rupee, delaying any rate cuts after the Reserve Bank of India kept the key lending rate unchanged on Monday.
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd
However, among stocks that gained, telecom shares rose after the new roaming regulations were seen as less stringent than expected and with a negligible financial impact, dealers said.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) said on Monday it would allow carriers to offer free nationwide mobile roaming to subscribers for a fixed fee from July 1.
Reliance Communications Ltd