Despite hitting new lifetime highs in early trade, key Indian stock indices Sensex and the Nifty ended on a weak note on Friday, with investors choosing to take some profits at several front line counters.
Weakness in Asian and European markets amid worries about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, a few disappointing earnings reports from India Inc and a forecast for a below normal monsoon prompted investors to trim down positions.
The Sensex, which rose to a high of 22,939.31, plunged to 22,656.64 in late afternoon trade and eventually ended the day with a loss of 188.47 points or 0.82% at 22,688.07.
The Nifty, which declined to 6772.85 from a new high of 6869.85, settled at 6782.75, down 58.05 points or 0.85% from its previous close.
In the forex market, the rupee opened flat at 61.06 a dollar, but gained in strength as the session progressed. Around late afternoon, the rupee was hovering around 60.65 a dollar.
Capital goods, cement, FMCG and oil stocks were among the prominent losers. Bank stocks saw some buying midway through the session, but faltered in the final hour. Select realty, healthcare, metal, information technology and consumer durables stocks found some support. Automobile mostly closed lower.
ITC, NTPC and Hindustan Unilever lost 2.5% to 2.8%. Hero Motocorp and Reliance Industries ended lower by about 2%. Larsen & Toubro lost nearly 2%. ONGC, Cipla, GAIL India, HDFC Bank, Tata Power and Wipro declined by 1% - 1.5%.
ICICI Bank ended 2.3% down. The private sector bank major posted a net profit of Rs 2652.01 crore for the quarter ended 31 March 2013, up 15.1% from the year ago period. Total income was up 15.05% at Rs 14,465.34 crore in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, from the previous corresponding quarter.
Maruti Suzuki closed lower by 1.3%. The carmaker said net profit declined 35.46% to Rs 800.05 crore on 9.03% decline in total income from operations to Rs 12101.39 crore in the quarter ended March 2014, from the year ago period.
Cairn India lost nearly 5% on weak guidance. Ambuja Cements (down 4.8%), ACC (down 2.9%) and Ultra Tech Cement (down 3.5%) closed on disappointing results. Grasim Industries lost around 3%.
BPCL, Asian Paints, Punjab National Bank, IDFC and Kotak Bank also ended notably lower.
Mahindra & Mahindra rallied 3.3%. Dr Reddy's Laboratories ended 2.4% up. HDFC gained about 1.7%. Axis Bank moved up 1.1% on better than expected quarterly results. State Bank of India, BHEL and Bharti Airtel posted modest gains, while Sesa Sterlite and Infosys edged up marginally.
Tech Mahindra gained 2.5%. NMDC ended nearly 1.5% up. HCL Technologies, DLF and Lupin also closed on a positive note.
The market breadth was weak. Out of 2926 stocks traded on BSE, 1552 stocks declined. 1268 stocks moved up and 106 stocks ended flat.