The benchmark Sensex buckled under selling pressure in the second half of trade on Wednesday and fell over 146 points as rising crude oil prices renewed fears of inflation, amid investors adopting a cautious stance ahead of state election results.
After losing 43.09 points on Tuesday, trading in Sensex began on a quiet note as barometer remained in a tight range.
However, the markets started showing cracks around 1400 hours.
Hurt by losses in ITC, ICICI Bank, HDFC and Tata Motors, the Sensex lost 146.21 points, or 0.70 per cent, to end the session at 20,708.71. 19 constituents of 30-share Sensex fell.
Brokers said domestic stocks fell after a US crude oil benchmark rose to over an five-week high after reports said there was a drop 12.4 million barrels in inventories. WTI crude was trading at USD 97.3 level when Indian market closed.
Profit-booking ahead of state polls results and speculation that US may taper its bond buying programme sooner-than-expected also hit market sentiment, they added.
On similar lines, the 50-share National Stock Exchange index Nifty declined by 40.90 points, or 0.66 per cent, to 6,160.95 led by stocks of realty, auto and banking shares.
Also, SX40 index, the flagship index of MCX-SX, closed down 64.87 points, or 0.52 per cent, at 12,307.07.
Sectorally, the BSE Realty sector index suffered the most by losing 2.67 per cent, followed by FMCG index (1.36 per cent), Auto index (1.05 per cent) and Capital Goods index (0.99 per cent).
Globally, Asian indices closed weak and Europe opened lower anticipating that the upcoming US employment data would give more evidence that growth is back in world’s largest economy, said experts.