Despite tail-end buying amid easing of wholesale inflation to seven-month low and firm global cues, the S&P BSE benchmark Sensex continued to rule weak for the third week in a row.
The 30-share index slipped another 10 points to settle at 20,366.82 this week.
Persistent capital outflows from foreign funds mainly affected the market sentiment. Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) were net sellers of Rs 106.96 crore during the week, including the provisional figure of February 14.
Wholesale-based inflation eased to a seven-month low of 5.05 per cent in January from 6.16 per cent in December.
With industrial output in negative terrain and price rise under control, hopes rose that RBI will cut interest rates soon, said brokers.
Shares of power, metal, FMCG, healthcare and banking sectors declined on profit-booking, while consumer durable, IT and auto scrips firmed up on good buying enquiries.
The Sensex resumed higher at 20,429.16 and hovered in a range of 20,516.60 and 20,149.01 before ending at 20,366.82, showing a mere loss of 9.74 points, or 0.05 per cent.
The BSE benchmark index has tumbled by 766.74 points, or 3.63 per cent, in the last three weeks.
The NSE's 50-share benchmark Nifty moved down by 14.85 points, or 0.24 per cent, to settle at 6,048.35.
Small and midcap stocks witnessed volatility as the interim Railway Budget did not contain any big-ticket measure even as passenger fares and freight rates were left untouched.
Small and midcap indices declined by 0.78 per cent and 0.39 per cent, respectively.
Globally, stocks ended higher following upbeat trade data from China. An optimistic economic outlook from Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen also whetted investors' risk appetite.
Jignesh Chaudhary, Head of Research, Veracity Broking Services said, "It was a mixed trading week in equity markets which saw some positive as well as negative trading. It started the week on a negative note due to the absence of FIIs from the market who has been primarily net sellers.
"Markets then went on to trade positive for the next couple of trading sessions buoyed by growth in export in January 2014 resulting in trimming of trade deficit which brought a bit of a cheer to the otherwise dull market."
"Sensex later recovered supported by easing in wholesale inflation and some healthy capital inflows by FII's. The weak trend in the market is going to continue the next week also and we will see equity markets trading in a negative bend in the absence of active participation from both domestic and FIIs and also due to no important data releases schedule during the week.
"We feel Sensex is going to trade in the range of 19,850 to 20,980 levels in the following week with a slight negative bias. Similarly Nifty too will trade in range of 5,950 to 6,130 levels in the coming week," he added.
Nineteen out of 30-share Sensex pack ended lower while others finished higher. Major losers were Cipla 10.49 per cent, Hindalco 5.97 per cent, Bajaj Auto 4.92 per cent, Bhel 4.60 per cent, Hero Motocorp 3.52 per cent, Tata Steel 3.48 per cent, SBI 3.38 per cent, Coal India 3.30 per cent, Bharti Airtel 3.26 per cent, HUL 3.05 per cent, NTPC 2.79 per cent, Axis Bank 2.05 per cent, Dr Reddy's Lab 1.88 per cent, Tata Power 1.53 per cent, HDFC 1.51 per cent, Maruti Suzuki 1.32 per cent and ITC 1.11 per cent.
However, Tata Motors rose by 7.55 per cent, followed by ICICI Bank 2.77 per cent, ONGC 2.43 per cent, Infosys 2.21 per cent, Sun Pharma 1.27 per cent, Gail India 1.17 per cent, L&T 1.14 per cent and TCS 1.07 per cent.
Among the S&P BSE sectrol indices, power dropped by 2.79 per cent, Metal 2.58 per cent, FMCG 1.91 per cent and HC 1.78 per cent, while CD rose by 2.15 per cent, IT 2.12 per cent, Auto 1.50 per cent and Teck 1.12 per cent.
Total turnover and BSE and NSE fell to Rs 8,654.30 crore and Rs 47,461.93 crore, respectively from Rs 9,303.90 crore and Rs 53,739.73 crore last week.