After opening on a listless note and moving slightly higher for much of the trading session, the Indian stock market flatered in the closing minutes and ended notably lower on Wednesday. Though global cues were positive on the back of some upbeat economic data out of the U.S., the mood back home was quite cautious due to lingering worries about growth following the rupee plunging to a new all-time low.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which declined to 18,514.35, ended the session with a loss of 77.03 points or 0.41% at 18,552.12. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 5588.70, a few points off the day's low of 5579.35, recording a loss of 20.40 points or 0.36%.
The rupee on Wednesday breached the 60 per dollar mark and plunged to a new low of 60.34 during the day, hurting sentiment to a significant extent.
Automobile, metal, healthcare, bank and consumer durables stocks mostly closed notably lower. Capital goods stocks too ended on a weak note. Realty, oil and PSU stocks found some support and ended on a mixed note.
Information technology stocks surged higher with a weak rupee aiding sentiment. Power and FMCG stocks too found modest support. Midcap stocks declined while select smallcap stocks posted strong gains. Bharti Airtel declined by 5.7% on sustained selling pressure following reports the Department of Telecom has decided to slap a Rs 650 crore penalty on the company for violating roaming norms in 13 circles between 2003-2005.
Mahindra & Mahindra lost 4.6%. Tata Motors lost around 3%. Jindal Steel & Power, Hindalco, Coal India and HDFC Bank ended lower by 1.6% - 2.8%. Larsen & Toubro, HDFC, Sun Pharamceutical Industries, ONGC, State Bank of India, Tata Steel and ICICI Bank also ended notably lower.
Kotak Bank, IndusInd Bank, Ranbaxy Laboratories, IDFC and Ambuja Cements lost 3% - 4.5%. Lupin, Jaiprakash Associates and Punjab National Bank also declined sharply.
Hero MotoCorp ended stronger by nearly 4%. Tata Consultancy Services gained 2.9%. GAIL India (2.8%) and NTPC (2.2%) also closed sharply higher. Wipro, Infosys and ITC closed with modest gains.
Asian Paints gained 3.9%. HCL Technologies, Power Grid Corporation, Axis Bank, BPCL and DLF also closed on a firm note.
The market breadth was weak. Out of 2456 stocks traded on BSE, 1360 stocks declined. 952 stocks moved up and 144 stocks ended flat.