Weak global markets and a downward revision of India's GDP growth by rating agency Standard & Poor's dragged down the Indian stock market to a negative close today.
After a positive start this morning on the back of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement regarding the need to push forward reforms, the market retreated to lower levels and struggled in the red despite some hectic buying in power, realty and capital goods stocks.
Power stocks were in demand on expectations the government will soon make an announcement regarding a financial restructuring scheme for the ailing sector.
Select automobile, bank and metal stocks moved up. Pharmaceuticals and information technology stocks mostly ended flat, while oil, FMCG and PSU stocks drifted lower.
The BSE benchmark Sensex , which advanced to 18,811.13, ended the session with a loss of 79.49 points or 0.42% at 18,673.34, nearly 25 points off the day's low of 18,650.43.
The broader 50-stock Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 5669.60, recording a loss of 21.55 points or 0.38%. The index touched a high of 5709.85 and a low of 5662.75 during the day.
HDFC ended lower by about 2.5%. ITC , Hindustan Unilever and ONGC also lost over 2%. Reliance Industries , Cipla , NTPC and Tata Consultancy Services drifted down by 1% - 1.6%.
GAIL India , Tata Motors , State Bank of India , Coal India , Tata Steel and Larsen & Toubro also closed weak.
SAIL , Power Grid Corporation , HCL Technologies , Ranbaxy Laboratories , Punjab National Bank , Cairn India , Grasim Industries and ACC ended with sharp to moderate losses.
BHEL spurted nearly 6.5%. Jindal Steel & Power gained 4.2%, while Mahindra & Mahindra and Maruti Suzuki moved up by 3.7% and 3.2%, respectively. HDFC Bank, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and Hindalco gained 1.2% - 1.6%. Wipro , ICICI Bank and Tata Power also closed on a firm note.
Reliance Infrastructure , Siemens , IDFC , Jaiprakash Associates , Asian Paints , Axis Bank and Kotak Bank ended on a firm note.
Lanco Infratech , Oberoi Realty , Adani Power , Suzlon Energy , Torrent Power , Alstom T&D , United Spirits , Bajaj Finserv , Crompton Greaves , REC, JP Power and JSW Energy gained 4% - 10%.
Ruchi Soya ended lower by over 10%. Apollo Tyres , Exide Industries , Cadila Healthcare , Bharat Electronics , NMDC , Dish TV India , Divi's Laboratories , Oriental Bank of Commerce , Emami and United Breweries also closed with sharp losses.
The market breadth, however, was positive, thanks to fairly good buying in midcap and smallcap segments.
Out of 3020 stocks traded on BSE, 1694 stocks moved up. 1198 stocks declined and 128 stocks ended flat.
Rating agency Standard & Poor's has cut India's GDP forecast by 1% to 5.5% due to uncertainty about the global economy. "Although Asia Pacific has recorded strong GDP growth relative to other global economies, we have observed a continued change in the region's economic barometer," S&P said in a statement.
In India, deficient monsoon is a big dampener has agriculture still forms a substantial part of the economy, the rating agency said.
"Additionally, the more cautious investor sentiment globally has seen potential investors become more critical of India's policy and infrastructure shortcomings. The latter was recently highlighted by the power outage in early August that affected 20 of India's 28 states," it added.