MUMBAI: Equity benchmarks stayed on the backfoot for the fourth consecutive session on July 1, 2021 as IT and finance counters bore the brunt of hectic selling amid weak Asian cues.
A continuously declining rupee and grim macroeconomic data also sapped investor confidence, traders said.
The 30-share BSE Sensex ended 164.11 points or 0.31 per cent lower at 52,318.60.
Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty shed 41.50 points or 0.26 per cent to close at 15,680.
Bajaj Finserv was the top laggard in the Sensex pack, tumbling 2.20 per cent, followed by Infosys, UltraTech Cement, Tech Mahindra, IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Finance and HDFC Bank.
On the other hand, Dr Reddy's, Bajaj Auto, Sun Pharma, Asian Paints, Maruti and NTPC were among the gainers, climbing up to 2.56 per cent.
Selling was triggered in the domestic market as investors remained cautious about the increasing COVID cases especially in Asia.
Despite the easing of restrictions, the manufacturing PMI data for June contracted to 48.1 from 50.8 in the previous month.
"However, the diminishing rate of domestic infection and progress in vaccination provided some comfort to the market. Positive auto sales numbers for June helped the sector to trade in positive territory," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.
India's manufacturing sector activities contracted for the first time in 11 months in June as rise in coronavirus cases and strict containment measures adversely impacted demand as well as resulted in job losses, a monthly survey showed.
The seasonally-adjusted IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) declined to 48.1 in June from 50.8 in May.
Binod Modi, Head- Strategy at Reliance Securities, said, "Domestic equities continued to trade range-bound as rebound in auto, pharma and FMCG was overshadowed by profit-booking in financials and IT space."
BSE power, tech, telecom, IT, energy, finance and capital goods indices fell up to 1.44 per cent, while auto, healthcare, FMCG and consumer durables indices closed in the green.
In the broader markets, the BSE midcap index slipped 0.19 per cent, while the smallcap gauge rose 0.32 per cent.
Asian markets remained in the negative zone in thin trading amid a holiday in Hong Kong.
However, equities in Europe were trading with gains in mid-session deals, boosted by positive manufacturing PMI data.
Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.90 per cent higher at USD 75.29 per barrel.
The rupee declined by 23 paise to end at 74.55 against the US currency, marking its third straight day of loss amid elevated oil prices and strengthening of the greenback overseas.
The domestic currency has lost 36 paise in the three trading sessions to Thursday.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers in the capital market on Wednesday as they offloaded shares worth Rs 1,646.66 crore, as per exchange data.