Shrugging off positive cues from easing inflation, BSE benchmark Sensex today fell by 111 points to snap a two-day rally, with Bharti Airtel plunging over reports of spectrum dues and SBI slipping after subdued earnings.
After a better start at 19,639.83, the Sensex tumbled by 110.90 points, or 0.57 per cent to end at 19,497.18 as investors adopted a cautious stance, wiping a major portion of the 147 points gained in the past two days.
The NSE index Nifty lost 36 points, or 0.61 per cent to 5,896.95, after touching the day's high of 5,940.20.
Bharti Airtel slumped by 4 per cent after reports said it faces significant spectrum charge demand from the government.
Wipro fell by 3.3 per cent on selling due to exclusion from NSE Nifty index from April 1, while Maruti Suzuki lost over 3 per cent on being dropped from MSCI India index from February 28.
State Bank of India shares also lost nearly 1.80 per cent after a lower-than-expected increase in net profit and higher NPA levels for the third quarter ended December 31, 2012.
Similarly, RIL and L&T lost over 2.6 per cent each.
Declining for the fourth straight month, WPI inflation fell to a 3-year low of 6.62 per cent in January but the data failed to spur investors' rate cut hopes.
"After a disappointing IIP numbers but an easing inflation rate, investors are in a state of uncertainty regarding rate cuts in near future," said Nidhi Sarswat, Senior Research Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio Ltd.
A slew of weak third quarter earnings from GVK Power and Tata Steel also dampened the market sentiment.
Sectorally, the capital goods sector suffered the most by falling 2.27 per cent, followed by oil and gas index 1.59 per cent, auto index 1.49 per cent and power index 1.25 per cent.
SBI reported a marginal 4.08 per cent increase in net profit at Rs 3,396 crore for the third quarter mainly on account of higher provisioning for bad loans.
"SBI witnessed continued pressures on the asset quality front, as elevated slippages and sequentially lower recoveries resulted in sequential rise in gross NPA levels," said Vaibhav Agrawal, VP Research- Banking, Angel Broking.
Globally, Asian stocks ended higher as investors awaited the G20 meeting of finance and central bank officials for clues about global growth and the role currencies will play in the economies of individual member countries.
Key benchmark indices in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea rose by 0.18 per cent to 0.85 per cent while Singapore's Straits Times fell 0.32 per cent.
European stock markets were trading lower after reports said French economy shrank more-than-expected in the final quarter of last year. Key benchmark indices in Germany and UK declined by 0.08 per cent to 0.17 per cent while France's CAC inched up by 0.05 per cent on value-buying.
Turning back to the local market, 16 scrips out of 30-share Sensex declined while 14 ended higher.
Major losers were Bharti Airtel (4.02 pc), Wipro (3.33 pc), Maruti Suzuki (3.30 pc), L&T (2.72 pc), RIL (2.63 pc), Tata Motors (2.59 pc), SBI (1.80 pc), ICICI Bank (1.64 pc), Cipla (1.57 pc), Dr Reddy's (1.44 pc), Hero MotoCorp (1.44 pc) and Sterlite Industries (1.11 pc).
However, HUL rose by 2.24 per cent, followed by Gail India 1.97 per cent, HDFC Bank 1.65 per cent, Tata Steel 1.17 per cent, TCS 1.15 per cent, Coal India 0.92 per cent and Infosys 0.85 per cent.
The market breadth continued to show negative trend as 1,501 scrips ended lower, while 656 stocks finished higher and 804 ruled steady. The total turnover improved further to Rs Rs 2,165.93 crore from Rs 2,041.36 crore yesterday.
Meanwhile, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) bought shares worth net Rs 800.31 crore yesterday as per provisional data from the stock exchanges.
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