The broader NSE Nifty too broke below the 7,300-mark. Recent batch of quarterly earnings by key heavyweights has also failed to provide support. Reliance Industries continued to bleed and fell further by close to 2 percent while Hindustan Unilever shed 2.47 percent.

Profit-booking after early gains, caution ahead of earnings announcement from more key corporates and further weakening of the rupee, which again breached the 68 mark against the dollar too took its toll.

"Already jittery investors were further spooked with US oil prices declining below USD 27 a barrel after data showed that American crude inventories rose more than expected," said Shreyash Devalkar Fund Manager – Equities BNP Paribas MF.

Resuming higher at 24,194.75, the BSE Sensex touched the session's high of 24,351.83 in early trade on the back of value-buying in recently battered blue chips. However, it failed to hold onto gains and dipped below the 24,000-mark to hit a low of 23,862.00 before ending 99.83 points or 0.41 percent down at 23,962.21. This is the first below-24,000 closing since May 15, 2014.

The gauge had tumbled by 417.80 points yesterday tracking massive sell-off in global indexes on growth worries. The 50-share NSE Nifty cracked below the 7,300-level byending 32.50  points or 0.44 percent down at 7,276.80, its lowest closing since May 30, 2014.

Private lender Axis Bank climbed the most at 5.21 per cent to Rs 408.90 after the company reported a 15 percent growth in December quarter net profit.

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