Benchmark indices ended lower on Wednesday as most investors remained cautious ahead of US Federal Reserve policy announcement, dealers said.
At close, Sensex ended down 262.96 points or 0.44 per cent at 59,456.78, while Nifty closed 97.90 points or 0.55 per cent at 17,718.35. About 2175 shares declined, 1,283 shares advanced while 129 shares remained unchanged on Wednesday.
IndusInd Bank, Power Grid Corp and Ultratech Cement were among major losers on the Sensex. Nifty IT ended 0.66 per cent down and BSE Utilities ended 2.31 per cent down.
"Markets across the globe are trading with considerable volatility ahead of the Fed policy announcement. A 75bps hike by Fed was factored in by the markets, while reports of mobilising Russian forces in Ukraine have escalated geopolitical tension and fears of rising inflation," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.
For the last six consecutive weeks, Nifty has been consolidating in the narrow range of 17,500-17,950 on a weekly closing basis. Any decisive breakout from this range would give directional move to Nifty.
Adani Ports and Shree Cement slipped on Wednesday while Britannia, Hindustan Unilever and ITC were the gainers. Adani Group and Cement stocks lost ground on Wednesday, while the FMCG sector was among the major gainers.
"Market awaits the widely-expected interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve in its bid to squash the highest inflation in decades," said Devarsh Vakil, Deputy Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities.
"Majority of the market participants expect the US Fed to increase the fund rate by 75 basis points to 3.25-3.50 per cent at the end of the two-day FOMC meeting. Some sections of the market are even expecting a 100 basis points rate hike," said Manish Jeloka, Co-head of Products & Solutions, Sanctum Wealth.