Equities failed to safeguard early gains, ending lower for the sixth time in seven sessions as the BSE Sensex slipped by 143 points to 24,682.03 -- its lowest closing in more than 19 months -- on caution ahead of key macroeconomic data and quarterly numbers of IT major TCS.
With Tuesday's plunge, the benchmark index has wiped off all the gains made since the swearing-in ceremony of the new government on May 26, 2014.
"Markets opened for the day with minor gains over yesterday's closing and remained gripped by bears throughout the day's trading," said Achin Goel, Head of Wealth Management and Financial Planning Bonanza Portfolio.
The 30-share Sensex after rising over 57 points in early trade, quickly slipped into the negative terrain as investors preferred to trim positions at every rise and hit a low of 24,597.11 before settling 143.01 points or 0.58 per cent lower at 24,682.03, its weakest closing since May 30, 2014.
The NSE Nifty index after cracking 7,500-mark, touched the session's low of 7,487.80. However, fag-end buying helped the gauge to recover part of the lost ground to settle 53.55 points or 0.71 per cent down at 7,510.30.
Sentiment was distinctly weak on a series of negative factors such as concerns over China's growth, crude falling below 31 USD to 12-year lows and caution ahead of IIP data for December and CPI inflation.
Third quarterly earnings of TCS due after market closing too negatively hit sentiment, they added.
Banking, realty, metal, infrastructure, oil&gas, PSU and IT sectors were hit hardest.
The broader markets too felt the heat with the BSE small-cap and mid-cap indices falling 1.03 per cent and 0.94 per cent, respectively.
Shares of Jet Airways, Spicejet and Interglobe were up by 3.20 per cent, 0.74 per cent and 0.65 per cent, respectively, on the hopes of further cut in ATF prices, said Goel.
In Asian markets, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan dropped by 0.21 per cent to 2.71 per cent while China's index inched up by 0.20 per cent.
European shares were trading higher as stocks of retailers rose following some positive company news. Indices in France, Germany and the UK rose by 0.43 per cent to 1.2 per cent.
Brent crude oil futures edged lower on a stronger dollar and worries over Chinese demand. Brent for February settlement fell by 73 cents to USD 30.82 a barrel.