The Sensex on Monday erased initial gains and closed 79 points lower as investors booked profits in FMCG and oil & gas stocks after the recent rally, amid a weak global trend.
The BSE benchmark index, which had surged to 14-month high in the previous session, climbed 58.30 points at the outset but failed to sustain the momentum. It finally ended at 18,673.34, down 79.49 points, or 0.42 per cent.
Out of the 30-share Sensex, 17 stocks led by HUL (3.05 per cent), ITC (2.41 per cent), HDFC (2.23 per cent) and Cipla (1.83 per cent) fell.
Fall in ONGC and Reliance Industries shares also weighed down the index. A sharper downside, however, was capped by gains in Bhel, M&M, HDFC Bank, Jindal Steel and ICICI Bank.
Brokers said markets fell as investors booked profits at these higher levels, amid rating agency Standard and Poor's cutting its growth forecast for India to 5.5 per cent for this fiscal from 6.5 per cent projected earlier.
Sentiment turned weaker as overseas markets opened lower.
"There was profit booking after a rally of nearly 1,000 points in the last few days...global markets have declined as Germany and France disagreed on when to introduce a banking union for the Euro," said Shubham Agarwal, Associate VP & Senior Technical Equities Analyst, Motilal Oswal Securities.
Second-line counters, however, were in demand and as a result BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices outperformed Sensex.
In the overall market, nearly 1,700 stocks fell while around 1,200 scrips ended higher.
In BSE, the FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) index was major loser as it fell by 1.48 per cent. Oil & gas index, which lost 1.43 per cent, was also a big loser.
The 50-share NSE index Nifty fell by 21.55 points, or 0.38 per cent to 5,669.60, after crossing 5,700 level in the morning session. .