Extending losses for the fourth straight day, the BSE benchmark Sensex today closed 32 points lower as a sharp rebound in October industrial growth and rise in retail-level inflation in November, dimmed interest rate
cut hopes in RBI's mid-quarter policy review next week.
The Sensex, which had lost nearly 100 points in the past three trading sessions, fell further by 31.88 points, or 0.16 per cent to 19,355.26.
The gauge had touched the day's high of 19,478.79 on initial buying activity but fell after IIP and inflation data were released, brokers said.
The 30-share index was dragged down by financial stocks, including HDFC, ICICI Bank and SBI. HUL, L&T, ONGC, BHEL and Tata Motors also were among the 20 losers in Sensex.
Similarly, the 50-issue S&P CNX Nifty of the NSE also moved down by 10.80 points or 0.18 per cent to 5,888.00.
While retail inflation rose to 9.90 per cent in November, from 9.75 per cent in October, the country's factory output measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) soared to 16-month high of 8.2 per cent in October.
"The IIP number failed to excite the markets as they likely focused on the impact of this data on RBI's interest rate decision next week. We believe RBI will not reduce rates at mid-quarter policy review (Dec 18)," said Dipen Shah, Head - Private Client Group Research, Kotak Securities.
The capital goods, metal and banking sectors suffered the most today while consumer durables, auto and IT shares rose.
"We do not expect it to ease rates until the fourth quarter particularly since inflation remains sticky and above RBI's comfort level," said Bhupali Gursale, Economist, Angel Broking.
The benchmark Indian indices were cushioned to some extent today by rise in Reliance Industries, ITC, M&M, Bajaj Auto and HDFC Bank stocks.
Brokers said trading remained listless as traders reduced their holdings despite a firming trend in Asian and European stock markets.
Stock market analysts said investors appeared not enthused by the sharp growth in IIP.
"I am very encouraged by the indications of the green shoots in economy in terms of production. IIP figures are very encouraging," Finance Minister P Chidambaram said in Delhi.
Sudip Bandyopadhyay MD & CEO Destimoney Securities said the October IIP numbers were better than expected aided by the "statistical spurt" in infrastructure related output.
Globally, Asian stocks ended higher amid sustained optimism for an agreement on upcoming US tax hikes and spending cuts,