The Sensex closed down 24.61 points or 0.15 pc at 16261.71, and the Nifty ended down 8.35 points or 0.17 pc at 4861.70.
The markets breadth was negative, about 982 shares advanced, 1914 shares declined, and 278 shares were unchanged.
The negative contributors to the Nifty were Bharti Airtel, BHEL, Sun Pharma, Tata Motors and HDFC.
NTPC, Maruti Suzuki, Reliance, L&T and TCS were the positive contributors.
Sensex choppy; Tata Motors, M&M, RCom dip
At 01:21 pm, Sensex was trading in a narrow band of 50 points. It was a quiet day for the markets ahead of expiry.
The Sensex was down 26.03 points or 0.16% at 16260.29, and the Nifty down 11.60 points or 0.24 pc at 4858.45.
About 905 shares have advanced, 1964 shares declined, and 303 shares were unchanged.
Selling pressure was witnessed in auto, pharma, banks, realty and metal stocks.
All BSE sectoral indices were trading in red barring IT and Oil&Gas. BSE Midcap and Smallcap index lost more than largecaps.
In the largecap space, Idea Cellular was the top gainer with more than 1.8%. Maruti Suzuki, HCL Tech, Larsen and BPCL were up 0.7-1.2 pc.
On the losing side, Tata Motors, Mahindra and Mahindra, Sun Pharma, Reliance Communications and Cipla were down 1.7-2.7 pc.
Nifty marginally in red; RIL, Axis Bank down
At 11.52 am, Nifty was trading marginally in red ahead of expiry. The auto index continued to drag the markets down.
Consumer durables, metals, pharma, realty and bank stocks were also marginally trading in red. Buying was seen in FMCG and capital goods stocks.
The Sensex was down 12.92 points or 0.08 pc at 16273.40, and the Nifty down 7.40 points or 0.15 pc at 4862.65.
About 920 shares advanced, 1917 shares declined, and 335 shares were unchanged.
In the largecap space, Idea Cellular, ABB, Larsen, Sterlite Industries and Maruti Suzuki were up 0.6%-1.4 pc.
On the losing side, Mahindra and Mahindra, Tata Motors, Hero Honda, Reliance Communications and Axis Bank were down 1.8-2.7 pc.
Sensex trading flat ahead of Rail Budget
At 10:11 am, the Sensex was trading flat ahead of the Rail Budget.
The Sensex was up 11.52 points or 0.07 pc at 16297.84, and the Nifty was up 4.10 points or 0.08 pc at 4874.15.
About 1101 shares advanced, 1705 shares declined, and 366 shares were unchanged.
Selling pressure continued in auto, metal and banking stocks. Buying was seen in IT and capital goods stocks.
The BSE Midcap and Smallcap index were down 0.19 pc and 0.33 pc respectively.
In the largecap space, Idea Cellular, HCL Tech, Tata Power, Ranbaxy Labs and Larsen were up 1-1.5 pc.
Mahindra and Mahindra, Hero Honda, Tata Motors, Axis Bank and Grasim were down close to 1 pc.