Mumbai: A weak rupee, along with outflow of foreign funds and caution over upcoming quarterly results, pulled the key Indian equity indices into the red on Tuesday.
Accordingly, heavy selling pressure was witnessed in select market heavyweights including those in banking, oil and gas and energy sectors, while all the other counters ended in the green on the BSE, led by IT and pharma stocks which rose due to depreciation in the rupee value.
However, lower global crude oil prices arrested the downward spiral.
Consequently, the S&P BSE Sensex closed 176.27 points down at 0.52 per cent. It opened at 34,891.13, from its previous close of 34,067.40.
The NSE Nifty50 ended at 10,198.40, down 52.45 points and 0.51 per cent.
In terms of broader markets, S&P BSE MidCap gained 0.91 per cent, while S&P BSE SmallCap was up by 0.94 per cent.
Nevertheless, the BSE market breadth was positive as heavy selling occurred in market heavyweights.
"Investors turned stock-specific in the on-going result season while maintaining a cautious view due to upcoming state elections," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
"Weak global cues and selling pressure in stocks that unveiled below than expected results dragged the indices. Drop in oil prices will provide leeway to maintain support in the market while triggers like upcoming trade talks between US and China give more cues to investors."
HDFC Securities' Retail Research Head Deepak Jasani said: "Technically, with the Nifty taking a breather, traders will need to watch if the recent rally can sustain and
"Further upsides are likely once the immediate resistances of 10,255 points are taken out. Crucial supports to watch for any weakness are at 10,150 points."
In terms of investments, foreign fund outflows continued as provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold stocks worth Rs 1,592.02 crore.
On the other hand, domestic institutional investors bought scrip worth Rs 1,363.04 crore.
As per data provided by the National Securities Depository (NSDL), the monthly outflow of foreign funds at Rs 27,385 crore from the equity segment was at its highest since 2002.
Currency-wise, the rupee closed at Rs 73.68 to a US dollar from its previous close of 73.44. Brent crude, the benchmark oil price, eased to around $76.20 a barrel.
The top gainers on BSE were: Infosys, up 2.48 per cent at Rs 659.75; Hindustan Unilever, up 2 per cent at Rs 1,585; State Bank India, up 1.90 per cent at Rs 273.15; Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), up 1.37 per cent at Rs 1,895.40; and Tata Motors, up 1.11 per cent at Rs 177.30 a share.
The top losers were: IndusInd Bank down 3.50 per cent at Rs 1,363.50; Coal India, down 3.47 per cent at Rs 277.10; Reliance Industries, down 2.84 per cent at Rs 1,057.15; Sun Pharma, down 1.92 per cent at Rs 561.65 and Power Grid down 1.79 per cent at Rs 186.10 per share.