After a firm start and a subsequent upmove, the market gave up some gains in early morning trade, and subsequently drifted down into negative territory amid alternate bouts of buying and selling in blue chip stocks.
At 19,888.80, the Sensex is now down 6.18 points points from its previous close. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange is down 1.75 points at 6033.
Realty stocks, which posted some strong gains in recent sessions, are among the prominent losers at present. Bank, FMCG and automobile stocks are trading off their highs.
Capital goods, information technology and capital goods stocks are trading mixed. Metal, oil, healthcare and consumer durables stocks are trading higher.
Cipla, Maruti Suzuki, Bajaj Auto, Coal India and Reliance Industries are up 1% - 1.4%. Tata Steel, Jindal Steel & Power, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, NTPC, GAIL India, ONGC, Tata Consultancy Services and Dr Reddy's Laboratories are trading higher by 0.5% - 0.8%.
Lupin, up 2.2%, is the top gainer in the Nifty index. BPCL has gained a little over 2%. Cairn India, Asian Paints, Ranbaxy Laboratories, Reliance Infrastructure and HCL Technologies are also trading notably higher.
Jaiprakash Associates and DLF are trading lower by around 3.5% at Rs 84 and Rs 268, respectively. Hindustan Unilever, Hero Motocorp, Punjab National Bank, Axis Bank, Tata Motors, Hindalco, HDFC Bank and Kotak Bank are also trading weak.
Bharti Airtel, which plunged sharply, losing around 3%, on disappointing results, has recovered most of the lost ground and is currently trading just marginally down from its previous closing price.
The telecom firm said that its consolidated net profit declined 71.94% to Rs 283.70 crore on 9.43% growth in total income at Rs 20,253.70 crore in the October - December 2012 quarter, as compared to the corresponding quarter last year. With this, Bharti Airtel has posted lower earnings for the 12 the consecutive quarter.
In the currency market, the rupee snapped a three-session winning streak as it declined to 53.32 against the U.S. dollar in early trades, losing 10 paise. On Thursday, the partially convertible Indian rupee had ended at 53.22 against the greenback, recording a gain of 8 paise.