The S&P BSE Sensex closed at 26,117.85 on Wednesday, down 51 points, or 0.20%, after opening the day at 26,217.

Lupin, Tata Steel and Bajaj Auto were the biggest gainers, while State Bank of India, Infosys, BHEL and ICICI Bank lost on a lacklustre day of trading.

Godfrey Phillips, Jet Airways, Crompton Greaves and Bajaj Holdings were some of the stocks that hit a new 52-week high on Wednesday on the BSE. ABG Shipyard, Rallis India, Adani Ports and BHEL touched a new 52-week low.

The Nifty was down 23.55, or 0.30%, and closed at 7,931.

Financial institutional investors (FIIs) are on a selling spree on the stock exchanges since 9 November, selling more equities than they are buying.

The net sell-off spiked on 16 and 30 November, when the net values were Rs 1,051 crore and Rs 1,043 crore, respectively. On 30 November, the FIIs bought and sold shares worth Rs 13,538.84 crore and Rs 14,582.68 crore, respectively, marking the highest trade over the 15-day period.

On 1 December, the first trading day of the month, they bought shares worth Rs 4,097.82 crore and sold equities worth Rs 4,204.60, marking a net sale position of Rs 106.78 crore.

Domestic institutional investors were net buyers on 1 December, purchasing shares worth Rs 1,337.74 crore and selling shares worth Rs 1,142.99 crore.

November was the fifth month since January this year that FIIs turned net sellers.

Analysts are of the view that the sell-off is in anticipation of an imminent US Fed rate hike this month.