MUMBAI: The benchmark BSE Sensex closed marginally down by 21 points at 33,835.74 after a choppy trade due to selling in oil and gas, auto and metal stocks amid a global sell-off on heightened trade war fears.
Asian stocks declined following an overnight slide in US equities after President Donald Trump replaced his moderate Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with a hawk, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who supports a hardline approach with China and Iran.
The Sensex, after a gap down opening at 33,733.55 continued its slide to touch a low of 33,580.69.
Later, it recovered to 33,875.15 on firming trend in Europe and a recovery in major banking stocks following a benign wholesale inflation data.
The index finally settled 21.04 points or 0.06 per cent lower at 33,835.74. During the day, the barometer swung almost 295 points (both sides).
The broader NSE Nifty cracked below the key 10,400-mark to touch a low of 10,336.30, before finally ending 15.95 points, or 0.15 per cent, down at 10,410.90. Intra-day it touched a high of 10,420.35.
A fresh spell of selling dragged down most of the sectoral indices, led by oil & gas, realty, metal, FMCG, power, capital goods, auto and PSU which fell up to 0.94 per cent.
"Market traded in a range bound due to mixed trend in global market, but recouped the losses as banking stocks outperformed due to improvement in financial market liquidity. Ease in February WPI inflation to 2.48 per cent will further provide support to the market while any escalation in global risk may lead investors to stay cautious," Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services Ltd said.
Inflation based on wholesale prices eased to a seven-month low of 2.48 per cent in February on cheaper food articles, including vegetables, official data showed.
Banking stocks recovered from early lows to end in the green. Yes Bank rose 1.85 per cent to emerge as the biggest gainer among Sensex scrips. Axis Bank, SBI and ICICI Bank also pared early losses to end higher by up to 0.89 per cent.
Bank of Baroda, PNB, and HDFC Bank also rose up to 3.01 per cent.
RBI yesterday barred banks from issuing guarantees in the form of letters of undertaking (LoU) as it clamped down on the import financing route used by fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi for allegedly committing India's biggest bank fraud.
Gains in Maruti Suzuki, NTPC, Infosys, Adani Ports and L&T helped the index limit its losses.
However, oil major ONGC dropped by 1.53 per cent after crude prices surged.
HeroMotoCorp took the biggest blow in the Sensex kitty by slumping 1.78 per cent followed by Tata Steel 1.25 per cent.
Other laggards included HDFC, Bajaj Auto, Bharti Airtel, Wipro, M&M, Coal India, Power Grids, Sun Pharma, ITC, TCS, Asian Paints, Kotak Bank and RIL, falling up to 0.91 per cent.
Coal India fell 0.41 per cent after brokerage firm Citi downgraded the stock to neutral and lowered its target price.
Gitanjali Gems cracked 4.90 per cent to Rs 13.60 after National Stock Exchange (NSE) levied penalty on the company for failure to file financial results for quarter ending December.
Sector-wise, the BSE oil & gas index suffered the most by falling 0.94 per cent, followed by realty (0.52 per cent), metal (0.48 per cent), FMCG (0.28 per cent), power (0.17 per cent), capital goods (0.10 per cent), auto 0.09 and PSU 0.08 per cent.
Bucking the trend, the broader markets ended in the green, with the mid-cap index rising 0.28 per cent and small-cap up 0.28 per cent.
Key indices in rest of Asia declined, with Japan's Nikkei falling 0.87 per cent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.53 per cent while Shanghai Composite Index down 0.57 per cent.
In the Eurozone, Paris CAC 40 rose 0.32 per cent while Frankfurt's DAX up 0.36 per cent in early deals. London's FTSE was higher 0.24 per cent.