The Indian stock market started off on a negative note on weak global cues, kept losing ground as the session progressed, and then, despite a fairly smart recovery during the closing minutes, ended the session with notable losses on Friday.
Tracking cues from Asian and European markets, where stocks mostly struggled today amid a slew of disappointing earnings reports, investors back home appeared keen on cutting down positions. Some weak results from India Inc. - ICICI Bank came out with better than expected numbers though - too contributed to the decline.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which declined to 18,558.05 in late afternoon trade, losing around 200 points in the process, ended the day with a loss of 133.29 points or 0.71% at 18,625.34.
The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange settled at 5664.30, off the day's low of 5641.75, recording a loss of 41 points or 0.72%.
Consumer durables and FMCG stocks were among the biggest losers in the session. Mirroring their decline, the BSE CD and FMCG indiced went down by 2.8% and 1.8%, respectively.
Healthcare, PSU, power, bank and realty stocks too mostly closed weak. Oil sector heavyweights Reliance Industries and ONGC ended notably lower.
Information technology stocks found some support early on, but retreated later. Select metal and capital goods stocks edged higher. Automobile stocks outperfromed the market.
FMCG heavyweights ITC and Hindustan Unilever lost over 2%. Hindustan Unilever announced that it posted a net profit of Rs 806.92 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2012 as compared to Rs. 688.92 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2011. Total Income has increased from Rs 5691.23 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2011 to Rs 6459.56 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2012, the company said.
Pharmaceuticals stocks Cipla (down 1.8%), Dr Reddy's Laboratories (down 1.5%) and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries (down 1.3%) ended notably lower.
Reliance Industries drifted down by about 1.4%. State Bank of India lost around 1.3% and HDFC eased by a little over 1%. Bharti Airtel, Hindalco, ONGC, Infosys, NTPC and Coal India also closed on a weak note.
ICICI Bank ended 0.7% down.The bank posted a net profit of Rs 1956.11 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2012 as compared to Rs 1503.19 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2011. Total income increased from Rs 9897.17 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2011 to Rs 12,069.30 crore million for the quarter ended September 30, 2012.
Punjab National Bank, down 6.7%, declined after the company reported a sharp surge in NPAs in the July - September 2012 quarter. Jaiprakash Associates lost 5.4%. Reliance Infrastructure, Power Grid Corporation, Siemens, Kotak Bank, Ranbaxy Laboratories, Bank of Baroda and DLF also ended weak.
Mahindra & Mahindra ended stronger by 2.6% with impressive results aiding its surge. Bajaj Auto and Hero Motocorp moved up by about 1.7%. Tata Motors edged up marginally.
GAIL India, BHEL and Sterlite Industries closed with modest gains, while HDFC Bank ended flat. Ambuja Cements, Asian Paints, ACC, Sesa Goa and Cairn India moved higher.
Ajanta Pharma, Trent, HEG and Dabur India attracted buyers on strong results. Nalco and Indian Overseas Bank drifted down sharply on disappointing quarterly results.
Sun TV Network drifted down for the second successive day, after winning the IPL Hyderabad franchise bid. Kingfisher Airlines hit the upper circuit after the airline's employees decided to call of their strike and agreed to return to work.
The market breadth was weak. Out of 2963 stocks traded on BSE, 1801 stocks declined. 1030 stocks moved up and 132 stocks ended flat.