The market opened on a firm note on positive global cues, retreated from higher levels soon, and then, after trading in a tight band for nearly three hours, slipped into the red and ended weak on Monday, snapping a four-session winning streak.
Profit taking took a toll of some blue chip stocks - those from the healthcare space were among the notable losers - and the key indices Sensex and Nifty ended the session well off their highs, posting moderate losses in the process.
The Sensex, which rose to 20,443.62 around mid morning but tumbled to 20,186.66 later on in the session, ended the day with a loss of 62.14 points or 0.31% at 20,223.98. The Nifty closed at 6156.90, recording a loss of 30.40 points or 0.49%. The Nifty touched a high of 6229.45 and a low of 6146.05 during the day.
Automobile stocks opened on a bright note, surged higher, but came off their best levels of the day during the later part of the session. Select information technology stocks closed with notable gains. Metal, FMCG, power and realty stocks had their moments in positive territory, but failed to hold gains.
Capital goods and PSU stocks too retreated after a firm start. Bank, oil, consumer durables and healthcare stocks ended weak.
Bharti Airtel ended 2.4% down. ONGC, Cipla, Wipro, Jindal Steel & Power, ICICI Bank and Dr Reddy's Laboratories lost 1.3% - 2%. HDFC, NTPC, Reliance Industries, Tata Steel and State Bank of India also closed weak. Tata Motors, which saw a bright spell, declined in the closing minutes and ended modestly lower.
Lupin ended 4.3% down following the company's rival Mylan launching the generic version of the cholesterol-lowering Tricor tablets (Finofibrate). It is felt that Tricor's launch by Mylan will result in higher competition and put pressure on Lupin's pricing and margins.
Ranbaxy Laboratories lost nearly 6%. Cipla and Dr Reddy's Laboratories ended lower by 2.1% and 1.8%, respectively. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries also closed weak, albeit with a marginal loss.
Jaiprakash Associates, Bharti Airtel, ONGC, ACC, BPCL, Jindal Steel & Power, Kotak Bank, ICICI Bank, IDFC, Power Grid Corporation and Ambuja Cements lost 1% - 2.5%.
Midcap and smallcap stocks failed to find support at higher levels. The market breadth was slightly weak. Out of 2548 stocks traded on BSE, 1302 stocks declined. 1116 stocks moved up and 130 stocks ended flat.