NEW DELHI: Equities buckled under selling pressure today following a robust two-session rally as risk appetite soured ahead of the release of key macroeconomic data.
Bank stocks bore the brunt of fresh disclosures by scam-hit Punjab National Bank, which said the size of the recently discovered fraud could be Rs 1,300 crore more than the current estimate of about Rs 11,400 crore.
The BSE Sensex lost about 100 points to end at 34,346, while the broader Nifty shed 28 points.
The government is scheduled to release a clutch of key economic data on Wednesday, including the December quarter GDP growth figures.
The 30-share Sensex opened higher at 34,558.56 and advanced to hit a high of 34,610.79 in early trade. However, it slipped into the negative zone to touch a low of 34,314.87, before finally ending 99.36 points, or 0.29 per cent, down at 34,346.39.
The index had gained 626.25 points in the past two sessions on the back of unabated buying by domestic institutional investors.
The NSE Nifty settled the day 28.30 points, or 0.27 per cent, lower at 10,554.30 after shuttling between 10,631.65 and 10,537.25 during the day.
On a net basis, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth Rs 1,119.51 crore, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought equities to the tune of Rs 1,409.45 crore yesterday, provisional data showed.
"PNB issue continued to impact the PSU banks and its effect was seen in the broad market as well. Indian 10-yr yield is inching up while dollar is strengthening which is impacting domestic market liquidity.
"On the other hand, the economy is expected to grow at 7 per cent in Q3 on account of higher spending by government and pick up in industrial activity," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
PNB continued its recent fall and hit a 20-month low, slipping 12.11 per cent. Gitanjali Gems too cracked nearly 5 per cent.
Among the Sensex components, Axis Bank emerged as the biggest loser, falling 2.68 per cent, followed by SBI at 2.46 per cent.
Other banking stocks too ended in the red. Bank of Baroda declined 1.63 per cent, followed by ICICI Bank 1.56 per cent, Kotak Mahindra Bank, 0.95 per cent, HDFC Bank 0.83 per cent, IndusInd Bank 0.54 and Federal Bank 0.47 per cent.
Allahabad Bank, Corporation Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Bank of India, Canara Bank, Uco Bank, Union Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Indian Bank, Dena Bank and Syndicate Bank also ended lower by up to 4.64 per cent.
Other index laggards included Sun Pharma, ONGC, Tata Steel, Maruti Suzuki, Coal India, HDFC Ltd, Adani Ports, ITC and L&T, falling by up to 2.02 per cent.
Bharti Airtel was the biggest gainer in the Sensex kitty, rising 2.07 per cent, followed by Dr Reddy's at 1.82 per cent.
The gainers' list featured Hero MotoCorp, NTPC, RIL, Power Grid, Bajaj Auto, Infosys, Yes Bank, HUL, Asian Paint, TCS, Tata Motors, Wipro and M&M, rising up to 1.64 per cent.
Simbhaoli Sugars surged 10.92 per cent after the company said it is committed to clear all outstanding loans to Oriental Bank of Commerce.
Among the sectoral indices, realty fell 2.03 per cent, bankex 1.43 per cent, PSU 1.25 per cent, finance 1.15 per cent, metal 0.79 per cent, healthcare 0.55 per cent, infrastructure 0.20 per cent and capital goods 0.19 per cent.
Teck, IT, consumer durables, FMCG and oil & gas indices finished with gains.
In line with overall trend, the BSE mid-cap and small-cap indices lost 0.50 per cent and 0.35 per cent, respectively.
Asian bourses displayed a mixed trend. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.73 per cent and Shanghai composite fell 1.13 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei rose 1.07 per cent.
European markets too were mixed in their early deals. Frankfurt's DAX was down 0.10 per cent, while Paris CAC 40 gained 0.12 per cent. London's FTSE was up 0.19 per cent.