The trade was volatile throughout the day and, according to market observers, selling was witnessed around the closing hour of trade.
Heavy selling pressure in metal, consumer durables and auto stocks weighed on the indices.
The broader Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed at 10,718.05 points — down 21.30 points or 0.2 per cent from the previous close.
The barometer 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) on the BSE, which opened at 35,328.91 points, closed at 35,176.42 points — up 16.06 points or 0.05 per cent from its previous session’s close
The Sensex touched a high of 35,357.15 points and a low of 35,072.42 during the intra-day trade.
The BSE market breadth was bearish with 1,810 declines and 900 advances.
Abhijeet Dey, Senior Fund Manager, Equities, BNP Paribas Mutual Fund, said: “It has certainly been a volatile start to May as benchmark indices in India struggled to maintain gains, despite positive macro-economic updates.”
Markets traded positive in the first half of the day but were unsuccessful in holding on to gains as volatility came to the fore and pushed markets to finally close the day near the flat line, he added.
Deepak Jasani, Head, Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS: “Nifty ended lower today as selling emerged from the day’s high of 10,784 levels.”
Said V.K. Sharma, Head, Private Client Group and Capital Market Strategy, HDFC Securities: “Markets corrected in the last 90 minutes of trade on Wednesday as the selloff in commodities accelerated towards the close.”
In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors sold scrips worth Rs 525.93 crore, while the domestic institutional investors purchased stocks worth Rs 165.84 crore.
Sector-wise, the S&P BSE energy and the finance indices were the only gainers during the day, both rising marginally. The S&P BSE energy index inched up 7.56 points and the finance index closed a tad up by 0.54 points.
On the other hand, the S&P BSE metal index plunged 485.59 points, the consumer durables stocks by 296.77 points and the auto index by 280.56 points.
The major gainers on the Sensex were Kotak Mahindra Bank, up 3.87 per cent at Rs 1257.25; ITC, up 2.03 per cent at Rs 287.15; Asian Paints, up 1.80 per cent at Rs 1,221.75; HDFC, up 1.37 per cent at Rs 1,910.50; and HDFC Bank, up 1.32 per cent at Rs 1,970.35 per share.
The top losers were Tata Steel, down 3.30 per cent at Rs 575.05; ICICI Bank, down 2.58 per cent at Rs 277.10; Hindustan Unilever, down 2.49 per cent at Rs 1,471.50; Sun Pharma, down 2.39 per cent at Rs 515.55; and State Bank of India, down 2.29 per cent at Rs 240.65 per share.