Domestic equity markets took a breather on Thursday, snapping its two-session gains as the benchmark Sensex ended below the psychological 27,000-mark after investors booked profit tracking weak global cues and caution ahead of key macroeconomic data.
Stock market traders also preferred to cut down on their positions ahead of the US Federal Reserve meet next week, brokers said.
Moreover, weak global cues with Tokyo stocks falling after fresh data aggravated worries about Japan's economy and a lower opening in European markets, also triggering selling.
The BSE Sensex crashed below the crucial 27,000-mark to hit a low of 26,692.35 before settling 257.20 points or 0.95 percent lower at 26,763.46. The gauge had risen by 243.21 points in the past two days.
The NSE Nifty after cracking 8,200-mark, touched the session's low of 8,184.60. However, value-buying in some counters helped the gauge recover part of the lost ground to settle 69.45 points or 0.84 per cent lower at 8,203.60.
"Markets opened the day with losses over Wednesday's closing and remained in negative terrain throughout the day as investors locked-in profits after recent gains," said Manoj Choraria, a Delhi-based NSE stock broker.
IT, teck, FMCG, capital goods, auto, healthcare and banking were the hit hardest.
The broader markets too felt the heat with the BSE mid-cap index falling 0.47 percent while small-cap edged up by 0.04 percent.
Back home, of the 30-share Sensex pack, 18 scrips ended lower, led by Infosys which fell 4.27 percent, followed by Hero MotoCorp (2.75%) and ITC (2.29%).
Other major losers were HUL (2.28%), Dr Reddy's (1.95%), Asian Paints (1.94%), HDFC (1.74%), Bajaj Auto (1.39%), TCS (1.29%), L&T (1.21%), ICICI Bank (1.18%) and Adani Ports (0.81%).
However, Coal India rose by 2.13 percent followed by ONGC 1.99 percent, RIL (1.81%), NTPC (1.66%), Cipla (1.51%) and Axis Bank (0.57%).
Meanwhile, foreign investors bought shares worth a net Rs 529.16 crore Wednesday, as per provisional data.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei fell 0.97 per cent while markets in Hong Kong and China were closed for a public holiday.
European shares too were trading lower with indices in France and the UK falling by 0.43 per cent to 0.87 per cent.
With PTI inputs