MUMBAI: Markets today failed to make good use of the early momentum in a fluctuating trade as the benchmark
Sensex broke below the psychological 26,000-mark by falling over 119 points amid profit-booking and a mixed global trend.
The broader NSE Nifty too cracked below the 7,900-level.
Caution ahead of the expiry of December monthly derivatives contracts on Thursday weighed, traders said.
Sentiment took a hit after IMF chief Christine Lagarde wrote in a guest article in a German newspaper that global growth will be "disappointing and patchy" in 2016.
She pointed to the prospects of US Fed rate hike and slowdown in China as fuelling uncertainty and risk of global volatility.
The BSE index, earlier backed up by covering-up of short positions, succumbed to profit-booking and ended below the 26,000-level at 25,960.03, down 119.45 points, or 0.46 per cent. It had gained 240.77 points in the previous two sessions.
The NSE Nifty closed lower by 32.70 points, or 0.41 per cent, at 7,896.25. It touched the day's high of 7,944.75 in early trade.
"Early gains were frittered away as traders indulged in year-end profit-booking in the stocks across the board," said Manoj Choraria, a Delhi-based stock broker.
A mixed trend in Asia, and European shares slipping from their three-week highs in early trade only compounded the woes.
The bear grip was so tight that as many as 21 stocks out of the 30 in the Sensex pack lost while others advanced.
Infosys was the worst hit as it plunged 1.52 per cent, followed by TCS (1.38 per cent) and Wipro (1.04 per cent).
Maruti Suzuki, SBI, RIL, Hero MotoCorp, Adani Ports, ICICI Bank, Bajaj Auto, Axis Bank and L&T also ran up losses.
But Tata Steel, Tata Motors, NTPC, ITC, BHEL and Dr Reddy's all ended higher.
Stocks of liquor companies United Spirits, United Breweries, Empee Distilleries and Tilaknagar Industries felt the heat for the second straight day as they fell up to 5.01 per cent after SC yesterday upheld the Kerala government's policy restricting issuance of bar licences to five-star hotels only.
The BSE IT index fell the most by 1.21 per cent followed by technology (0.77 per cent), oil and gas (0.56 per cent), banking (0.43 per cent), PSU (0.30 per cent), auto (0.30 per cent) and realty (0.17 per cent).
Broader markets left the Sensex far behind, with the mid-cap index rising 0.21 per cent and small-cap 0.07 per cent.
Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) net bought shares worth Rs 8.49 crore yesterday, according to provisional data.