The BSE Sensex ended flat on Tuesday, with Infosys falling as a recent uptick in the stock was seen as unjustified given concerns over its business outlook, while Mahindra & Mahindra rose to a record on expectations of improving sales during the festival season.
A cautious market ahead of the winter session of Parliament, which starts on Thursday, also tracked lower European shares after a credit rating agency stripped France of its top-notch rating.
Investors are looking for signs of the government's resolve to continue with reforms after introducing a slew of measures in September, including opening up the multi-brand retail and aviation sectors to foreign investors.
"The market is at a crossroad and waiting for an announcement from the government side," said R K Gupta, managing director at Taurus Mutual Fund. Markets could take a direction from the developments during the parliament's winter session, added Gupta.
The benchmark Sensex fell 0.05 per cent, or 9.68 points, to end at 18,329.32 points, falling for the seventh day in the last eight sessions.
The broader Nifty ended flat at 5,571.55 points, after rising as mush as 0.76 per cent earlier in the day. Infosys, India's second-largest software exporter, fell 1.4 per cent, retreating after gaining 2.7 per cent over the previous two sessions on concerns about its business outlook.
The software firm continues to see a challenging demand environment, Kotak Institutional Equities said in a report citing a conversation with Infosys’s new Chief Financial Officer Rajiv Bansal.
Utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra rose 3.3 per cent, after earlier hitting a record high of Rs 942.40 and heading towards a fourth consecutive month of gains, on expectations of improving sales during the festival season.
Shares in Lupin rose 1.11 per cent after the company said its arm, Lupin Pharmaceuticals, has launched a generic version of Abbott Laboratories cholesterol lowering drug TriCor in the United States.
However, shares in DLF Ltd fell 2.4 per cent, extending declines after news channel CNBC TV18 reported the Delhi High Court has dismissed the property company's challenge against a probe by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).
DLF was not ready to comment immediately as they were yet to receive the court order, a spokesman said.
Among midcap movers, shares in Eicher Motors gained one per cent on hopes of strong demand at its two-wheeler unit Royal Enfield in the festive season. Macquarie initiated its coverage on Eicher Motors on Monday with an "outperform" rating citing capacity expansion in motorcycles, market share gain in heavy trucks and the start of production of Volvo's medium-duty engines.
Shares in Excel Crop Care Ltd rose 8.2 per cent after a TV news channel reported that an expert panel told India's top court that endosulfan pesticide could be used in farms for the next two years.
Visa Steel jumped 10.25 per cent after the company and SunCoke Energy Inc announced a joint venture in which Suncoke will invest about $67 million to acquire a 49 per cent interest.