MUMBAI The BSE Sensex snapped a four-day winning streak on Monday, retreating from near 2-1/2-year highs as investors booked profits in rate-sensitive stocks such as ICICI Bank, while drugmakers were hit by worries about the country's new drug pricing policy.
Caution also prevailed after Standard & Poor's statement reiterating its "negative" outlook on India's sovereign ratings, which came out shortly before the close of markets on Friday.
Analysts said some consolidation was due for domestic markets after the benchmark BSE Sensex has rallied about 11 percent rally since mid-April due to strong foreign inflows.
Foreign investors have been net buyers for 22 consecutive sessions as of Friday, bringing in a net of about $13.52 billion in 2013, regulatory and exchange data shows.
"Market has had a straight run up for last few weeks due to liquidity, so some amount of correction is required," said Deven Choksey, managing director of KR Choksey Securities.
There are no signals so far that liquidity is abating so one can look to accumulate good stocks on declines, added Choksey.
The benchmark BSE Sensex fell 0.31 percent, or 62.14 points, to end at 20,223.98, retreating from its highest level hit intraday since January 5, 2011.
The broader Nifty fell 0.49 percent, or 30.40 points, to end at 6,156.90, after earlier hitting its highest level since November 11, 2010.
ICICI Bank Ltd (ICBK.NS) fell 1.7 percent after climbing as high as 1,236.9 rupees on Friday, its highest since November 2010.
Among other lenders or interest rate-sensitive stocks, HDFC Bank Ltd (HDBK.NS) fell 0.6 percent, while Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd (HDFC.NS) ended down 0.55 percent.
Drugmakers also fell after the government formally notified on Thursday a new drug pricing policy designed to increase the number of drugs deemed essential that are subject to price caps.
Cipla Ltd (CIPL.NS) fell 1.9 percent and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd (REDY.NS) ended 1.6 percent lower.
Shares in Lupin Ltd (LUPN.NS) slumped 4.3 percent after rival Mylan Inc (MYL.O) launched a generic version of the cholesterol-lowering Tricor tablets.
Apollo Hospitals Enterprises Ltd (APLH.NS) shares fell 6.5 percent after its March quarter profit rose 27.3 percent to 755.2 million rupees, but lagged expectations.
However, among stocks that gained, Coal India Ltd (COAL.NS) rose 1.3 percent ahead of its March-quarter earnings later in the day.
Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (MAHM.NS) gained 1.5 percent, after shares of its subsidiary Ssangyong Motor Co Ltd (003620.KS) hit a 16-month high, dealers said.
(Editing by Sunil Nair)
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What seemed like a possibility for the Nifty to cross the 8,000 mark just two weeks ago has now turned out to be a far-fetched dream. A 7,950-8,000 range could be used to book partial profits and re-enter closer to 7,750-7,800 for the next couple of weeks. The next big trigger would be the arrival of monsoons, writes Ambareesh Baliga. Read