After a cautious and listless start, the market kept losing ground on Tuesday as investors indulged in some profit taking after recent strong gains. A lack of triggers from global and domestic fronts too rendered the mood cautious for most part of the session.
Realty and consumer durables stocks were among the major losers. Several stocks from FMCG, capital goods, information technology and metal sectors too ended weak. Bank, oil, power and automobile stocks declined as well. Pharma stocks saw some buying early on, but failed to hold at higher levels.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which advanced to 20,156.86 in early trades, faltered to a low of 19,852.91 past mid afternoon, and eventually ended the session with a loss of 120.25 points or 0.6% at 19,981.57. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 6048.50, recording a loss of 33.80 points or 0.56%. The Nifty touched a high of 6101.30 and a low of 6040.50 during the day.
GAIL India, down 4.4%, was the biggest loser in the Sensex. Hindustan Unilever declined by 2.8%. On the National Stock Exchange, Hindustan Unilever ended nearly 6.5% down at Rs 465.20.
Hindustan Unilever announced that its net profit rose 15.59% to Rs 871.36 crore on 12.47% increase in total income to Rs 6788.54 crore in the October - December 2012 quarter, from the year ago period.
Hindalco lost around 2.4%. Tata Motors, State Bank of India, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Steel, Tata Power, Larsen & Toubro, Bharti Airtel, HDFC Bank, ITC, Hero Motocorp, Sterlite Industries, Infosys and ICICI Bank ended lower by 0.5% - 1.5%.
HCL Technologies, Cairn India, Ranbaxy Laboratories, Siemens, BPCL, Reliance Infrastructure, Lupin, Sesa Goa, DLF and Bank of Baroda also ended sharply lower.
NTPC gained 1.8% following an announcement from the company that its board of directors have approved equity investment of up to Rs 2269.75 crore in a 50:50 joint venture company with Bihar State Electricity Board.
Asian Paints gained 3% on strong results. Kotak Bank (1.6%) also moved up smartly on impressive quarterly results. ACC ended 2% up. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Ultratech Cement, Jindal Steel & Power, Axis Bank and ONGC also closed on a firm note.
Pantaloon Retail ended nearly 10% up on strong volumes. The stock topped the chart on NSE, clocking a turnover of over Rs 750 crore, on a volume of around 28.3 million shares. The stock spurted following the Foreign Investment Promotion Board giving clearance to Swedish major IKEA for its Rs 10,500 crore investment in the country. This is the largest investment proposal in the single brand retail category so far. Shopper's Stop gained over 4%.
Shares of gold jewellery making firms were under pressure following the government hiking import duty on gold from 4% to 6%.
The market breadth was weak. Out of 3008 stocks traded on BSE, 1479 stocks declined.. 853 stocks moved up and 676 stocks ended flat.