Profit booking, coupled with rupee depreciation and lower global crude oil prices subdued the Indian equities markets on Monday.
Besides, continuous outflow of foreign funds and lower Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and real Gross Value Added (GVA) estimates for Fiscal 2017, released after the market hours on Friday, weighed heavy on investors' sentiments.
However, recovery in banking, IT and FMCG sectors during the latter part of the session somewhat arrested the downward slide.
The wider 51 - scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) inched down by 7. 75 points or 0. 09 per cent to 8, 236. 05 points.
The 30 - scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 26, 860. 81 points, closed at 26, 726. 55 points, down 32. 68 points or 0. 12 per cent from its previous close at 26, 759. 23 points.
The Sensex touched a high of 26, 860. 88 points and a low of 26, 701. 18 points in the intra - day trade.
In contrast, the BSE market breadth was tilted in favour of the bulls - - with 1, 578 advances and 1, 225 declines.
The domestic investors started the trade week on a cautious note due to the upcoming macro - economic data release and the third quarter (Q3) earning results.
India's Central Statistics Office (CSO) is expected to release the macro - economic data points of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December.
Apart from the key macro - economic data points, investors have been worried over the impact of demonetisation on the Q3 earning results.
IT major TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) is expected to be the first blue chip firm to come out with its Q3 results on January 12, followed a day later by Infosys.
In addition, the Indian rupee weakened by 25 paise to 68. 21 against a US dollar from its previous close of 67. 96 to a greenback.
In terms of investments, provisional data with exchanges showed that the foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold stocks worth Rs 325. 10 crore, whereas the domestic institutional investors (DIIs) purchased scrip worth Rs 96. 82 crore.
"CNX Nifty traded sideways to bearish sentiments due to profit booking at higher levels.
The Indian equity markets also faced resistance at higher levels due to firm USD/INR futures prices, " Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, told IANS.
"However, banking, IT and FMCG stocks witnessed healthy recovery from lower levels, " he said.
According to Deepak Jasani, head of Retail Research with HDFC Securities, the Indian markets ended marginally lower on Monday after trading in a narrow range for a major part of the day's trade.
"All the major Asian markets have closed with losses barring the Straits Times, Hang Seng and Shanghai indices, " Jasani said.
European indices like CAC 40 and DAX also traded lower.
"Technically, the Nifty seems to be in consolidation mode.
Further directional cues are likely to emerge once the Nifty moves out of the 8, 220 - 8, 307 trading range, " Jasani added.
Sector - wise, the S&P BSE IT index surged by 58. 09 points, followed by the FMCG index which rose by 47. 47 points, and the banking index which edged up by 21. 22 points.
On the contrary, the S&P BSE healthcare index receded by 121. 43 points, followed by the oil and gas index which slumped by 117. 29 points, and metal index dwindled by 24. 35 points.
Major Sensex gainers on Monday were: ITC, up 1. 30 per cent at Rs 245. 80; Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), up 0. 88 per cent at Rs 2, 303. 75; Maruti Suzuki, up 0. 62 per cent at Rs 5, 648. 15; Wipro, up 0. 59 per cent at Rs 472. 65; and Tata Steel, up 0. 56 per cent at Rs 422. 05.
Major Sensex losers were: Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, down 3. 00 per cent at Rs 3, 066; ONGC, down 2. 17 per cent at Rs 198. 05; Asian Paints, down 1. 88 per cent at Rs 910. 30; Coal India, down 1. 86 per cent at Rs 300. 05; and GAIL, down 1. 63 per cent at Rs 435. 30.