The index was dragged down by losses mainly in engineering, banking, auto and IT sector stocks. Selling towards the fag end on the last day of the January series of derivatives contracts, concerns over muted corporate earnings so far and mixed global cues hit markets
too, brokers said.

At the conclusion of its policy meet, the US Fed hinted at more interest rate hikes this year despite the lingering economic uncertainty, which depressed mood further.

Participants were seen offloading their long bets in futures and options (F&O) segment instead of carrying them forward to the next series for February, they said.

"The F&O expiry, sustained foreign funds outflows and absence of any market boosting factor dampened market sentiment," said Manoj Choraria, a Delhi-based NSE stock broker.

After resuming lower, the Sensex closed at 24,469.57, a fall of 22.82 points, or 0.09 per cent. The index gained 530.18 points in the last three sessions. The broader Nifty ended lower by 13.10 points, or 0.18 percent, at 7,424.65 after trading between 7,409.60 and 7,468.85.

In Asia, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index sank 2.92 percent, the third straight loss, despite another huge injection of Chinese central bank cash into the financial system as investors fretted over the state of the economy.

Japan's Nikkei ended 0.71 percent lower, but Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged up 0.75 percent. Market heavyweights like L&T plunged 2.72 per cent, Axis Bank 2.06 percent, BHEL 1.97 percent, Adani Ports 1.86 percent and HDFC Ltd 1.67 percent.

Stocks of Bharti Airtel and ICICI Bank came under some pressure and lost 2.32 percent and 1.69 percent, respectively, ahead of their quarterly numbers, to be released later in the day.

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