Sensex, the prime index of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) continued its downslide on Tuesday, declining 0.67 percent on profit booking as investors continued to remain wary of global market developments.

The 30-share benchmark sensitivity index slipped 117.89 points to 17,373.01, with 18 components closing lower. The index touched an intraday high of 17,502.15 and a low of 17,237.68.

The index, which hit a record high of 21,206.77 on Jan. 10 and climbed 10.5 percent in April, is down nearly 14.5 percent this year.

The day's biggest losers were telecom major Bharti Airtel and real estate giant DLF which plunged 5.29 percent and 5.26 percent respectively to Rs.846.60 and Rs.667.95.

Airtel fell on news that the firm was planning to buy a stake in South African telecom operator, MTN Group.

Engineering and construction major Larsen & Toubro (L&T), India's largest private lender ICICI Bank and top listed petro-chemical refiner Reliance Industries (RIL) slid 2.30 percent, 0.55 percent and 0.42 percent to Rs.3061.15, Rs.928.05 and Rs.2654.40 respectively. The three stocks account for almost half of the weight of the index.

Auto majors Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors dropped 2.23 percent, 1.99 percent and 0.55 percent to Rs.766.90, Rs.664 and Rs.681.80 respectively.

India's biggest bank, state-run State Bank of India ended down 1.29 percent to Rs.1756.20.

Other losers were Jaiprakash Associates (down 5.15 percent to Rs.271.90), Reliance Infrastructure (down 4.92 percent to Rs.1422.30), BHEL (down 2.47 percent to Rs.1860.45), ACC (down 2.20 percent to Rs.741.10), Reliance Communications (down 1.98 percent to Rs.543.30), NTPC (down 1.28 percent to Rs.195.95), Grasim Industries (down 1.13 percent to Rs.2357.05), Hindalco (down 0.87 percent to Rs.181.85) and Ranbaxy Laboratories (down 0.68 percent to Rs.474.95).

IT stocks had a field day with Satyam Computer Services, Infosys Technologies, Wipro and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) surging 1.96 percent, 1.84 percent, 1.70 percent and 1.44 percent respectively to Rs.497.05, Rs.1820.30, Rs.498.45 and Rs.937.85.

FMCG majors ITC and Hindustan Unilever (HUL) gained 1.90 percent and 0.02 percent to close at Rs.224.90 and Rs.248.20 respectively.

India's third largest bank, HDFC Bank rose 0.66 percent to Rs.1539.90 while top mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) advanced 0.30 percent to Rs.2718.15.

Other gainers were Tata Steel (up 1.73 percent to Rs.816.40), ONGC (up 0.46 percent to Rs.1043.75), Ambuja Cements (up 0.22 percent to Rs.111.40) and Cipla (up 0.12 percent to Rs.248.20).

Except for IT, FMCG and Metal counters, the remaining sectoral indices ended in the red. The worst performers were Realty and Power, slipping 4.63 percent and 2.15 percent respectively.

The BSE Midcap as well as the Smallcap indices ended lower, slipping 0.94 percent and 1.09 percent to 7230.31 and 8749.24 respectively.

The BSE market breadth was overall negative as 965 shares advanced, 1722 shares declined and 68 shares remained unchanged.

The broader 50-share S&P CNX Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) slipped 0.92 percent or 47.60 points to 5,144.65. The index touched a high of 5206.50 and a low of 5110.90 during intraday trade.

The market is still cautious and people always want to book some profit after a 15-20 percent rise, said Dipak Acharya, a fund manager at BoB Mutual Fund.

We have a mixed bag sort of situation right now as investors are churning their portfolios. So there is profit booking in some high beta stocks, while certain neglected sectors and stocks are being bought into. Overall, I expect this range-bound situation to continue till the next fortnight, said Anand Kuchelan, senior analyst - derivatives and strategy, PINC Research.

As crude oil hit a record near $121 per barrel, the rupee declined to 41 per dollar, its lowest in more than eight months. The currency has lost 3.85 percent against the dollar so far this year, after rising more than 12 percent in 2007.

Elsewhere in South Asia, Pakistan's Karachi 100 and Sri Lanka's Colombo All-Share slipped 1.8 percent and 0.1 percent to 14,408.84 and 2645.50 respectively, while Bangladesh's Dhaka Stock Exchange gained 0.29 percent to 3096.24.