After opening higher on positive cues from Asian markets, the Indian stock market retreated and swung between gains and losses amid listless trades on Monday.
Asian markets failed to hold early gains and ended on a mixed note. European markets traded weak, rendering the mood on the Indian bourses a bit bearish in afternoon trade.
Though some upbeat data from the U.S. helped lift sentiment early on in the session, worries about high inflation and slowing growth, besides fears of rating downgrades of the economy prompted investors to tread cautiously right through the session.
While the BSE benchmark Sensex ended down 14.41 points or 0.07% at 19,409.69, after touching a high of 19,478 and a low of 19,363.32, the Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange settled at 5308.90, recording a gain of 1.50 points or 0.03%.
Realty and healthcare stocks had a good outing. Select bank, FMCG, metal and PSU stocks moved higher. Automobile, power and capital goods stocks too ended on a mixed note, while consumer durables, information technology and oil stocks traded weak.
Tata Consultancy Services ended lower by about 2.5%. NTPC lost nearly 2%. Bharti Airtel ended 1.4% down and Maruti Suzuki closed lower by 1.1%. Mahindra & Mahindra, ICICI Bank, Reliance Industries, Hindalco, Tata Power, Larsen & Toubro, Tata Motors and ONGC also ended weak.
Cairn India, IDFC, Grasim Industries, Siemens, Ultratech Cement and Jaiprakash Associates ended with sharp to moderate losses.
Bank of Baroda moved up by over 4%. HDFC and Dr Reddy's Laboratories ended higher by 3.7% and 3%, respectivley. Punjab National Bank, Reliance Infrastructure, Tata Steel, Kotak Bank, Cipla and Bajaj Auto gained 1% - 2.5%.
Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, HCL Technologies, Hero Motocorp, DLF, Hindustan Unilever and Lupin also closed on a firm note.
Sugar stocks were in demand following the government hiking state advised price for sugarcane for the 2012-2013 crushing season. Indian Overseas Bank, Sadbhav Engineering and KEC International moved up on stock specific stories.
The market breadth was marginally positive. Out of 3059 stocks traded on BSE, 1536 stocks moved up. 1406 stocks declined and 117 stocks ended flat.