The Market fell today, breaking a four-session positive streak, as telecom operators such as Idea Cellular slumped after rising prices in a mobile spectrum auction set off concerns about profit margins.
Blue chips were also hit after foreign investors sold a net $39.88 million worth of shares in the secondary market on Friday, extending their selling streak to a seventh day that brought the total outflows to $582.02 million.
Th defensive sectors such as pharma prevented a sharper fall, as caution was also seen ahead of consumer price inflation and industrial output data due on Wednesday and wholesale inflation data on Friday.
Country's CPI for January is seen at 9.3 per cent versus mean estimates of 9.4 per cent, estimates show.
Globally, caution prevails ahead of Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen's first testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday.
Shares may continue to remain range bound. Inflation data may lead to a breakout or breakdown before the elections, and the market will take a turn either way very soon.
The Sensex fell 0.21 per cent, or 42.29 points, to 20,334.27, after ending on Friday at its highest in one week.The Nifty dropped 0.16 per cent, or 9.75 points, to 6,053.45.
Shares of telecom companies slumped as rising prices in the spectrum auction are seen reducing potential profit margins.Idea Cellular slumped 8.44 per cent, its biggest single-day fall since October 23, 2008. Bharti Airtel fell 2.7 per cent, while Reliance Communications lost 4.2 per cent.
Housing Development Finance Corp fell 2.3 per cent, while Tata Consultancy Services ended lower 2.4 per cent on continued risk aversion.Banks were also under pressure with HDFC Bank lower 0.6 per cent and State Bank of India down 0.9 per cent.
However, pharmaceutical companies perceived as defensive gained on risk aversion.Sun Pharmaceutical Industries gained 1.7 per cent and Dr.Reddy's Laboratories rose 1.5 per cent.
DLF rose 2.9 per cent after the company said it completed the sale of its Amanresorts luxury hotel chain back to original Indonesian owner Adrian Zecha for an enterprise value of around $358 million.The refund from DDA also helped it rise.