Save for a few minutes in morning trade and a brief while a little past noon, the Indian stock market traded in negative territory on Tuesday with investors mostly staying on the sidelines after nine successive days of gains.
The overnight weak close on Wall Street and the negative trend in the Asian and European markets today amid renewed worries about the financial situation in the eurozone rendered the mood slightly bearish. Besides a lack of fresh triggers, a surge in retail inflation and profit taking ahead of Wednesday's holiday too contributed to the market's weak close.
Moving in a tight band almost right through the session, the BSE benchmark Sensex - it touched a high of 18,580.48 and a low of 18,469.51 - ended the day with a loss of 46.30 points or 0.25% at 18,496.01.
The broader Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange settled at 5600.05, around 20 points off the day's high and 14 points from the day's low, recording a loss of 9.95 points or 0.18%.
Shares of state run banks had a good outing and mostly ended with strong gains. Capital goods and power stocks moved higher. Select realty and consumer durables stocks posted notable gains. Automobile and FMCG stocks ended flat. Metal and healthcare stocks ended on a mixed note. Information technology and oil stocks drifted lower.
Wipro, down 3.7%, was the most prominent loser in the Sensex. Tata Consultancy Services drifted down by about 3%, even as Infosys ended on a firm note, gaining nearly 1.5%, thanks to a rating upgrade.
Hindalco and Reliance Industries eased by around 2.1%. NTPC lost a little over 1.5%. Tata Motors, Cipla, Tata Steel and ICICI Bank lost more than 1%. Tata Power, Sterlite Industries, HDFC and Maruti Suzuki also closed weak. Cairn India lost around 3.8%. DLF ended 1.6% down.
BHEL surged nearly 5.5%. State Bank of India ended stronger by 3.6%. GAIL India moved up by a little over 3% and Jindal Steel gained 2.7%. Bharti Airtel, Mahindra & Mahindra, Bajaj Auto, Hero Motocorp and Coal India also ended on the positive side.
Punjab National Bank, up nearly 8%, was the top gainer in the Nifty index. Bank of Baroda, Jaiprakash Associates, Axis Bank, SAIL, Reliance Infrastructure and HCL Technologies too closed on a firm note.
Even as large cap stocks struggled for support, midcap and smallcap stocks had a good outing today. Mirroring fairly strong buying at several side counters, the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices moved up by 0.88% and 0.73%, respectively.
The market breadth was positive. Out of 3013 stocks traded on BSE, 1692 stocks moved up. 1197 stocks declined and 124 stocks ended flat.