After a brief spell in positive territory in early trade, the market retreated and spent the entire session in the red today as investors treaded cautiously amid lingering concerns about the near term economic outlook following a downgrade of Spain's sovereign debt rating. The overnight weak close on Wall Street on the back of some disappointing results from a few front line companies too hurt sentiment to a notable extent.
Amid a slew of earnings reports, stocks swung between gains and losses today. Acticity was mostly stock specific. There were a few mild bouts of volatility during the day with a section of traders winding up some positions ahead of October series derivatives expiry.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which edged up to 18,812.93 in early trades, ended the day with a loss of 83.42 points or 0.44% at 18,710.02, around 20 points off the day's low of 18,689.38.
The broader 50-stock Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 5691.40, recording a loss of 25.75 points or 0.45%. The Nifty touched a low of 5681.45 and a high of 5720.80.
Capital goods stocks, particularly Larsen & Toubro, saw some buying today. Select pharmaceuticals, PSU and bank stocks edged higher. Oil, automobile, power, FMCG, information technology, metal and consumer durables stocks drifted lower. Midcap and smallcap stocks started off on a steady note, but retreated as the session progressed due to lack of support at higher levels.
Yes Bank, Cairn India, Idea Cellular, Peninsula Land, United Phosphorus, Merck, Tata Coffee, Dewan Housing and Bank of Maharashtra counters saw some hectic buying during the day thanks to fairly strong results posted by these companies. JK Lakshmi, which moved up sharply in the previous session on impressive quarterly numbers, extended its gains today on firm buying support. However, most of these stocks retreated from the day's highs as the mood turned a bit bearish in late afternoon trade.
Castrol India drifted down sharply on weak results. Lupin too declined on disappointing quarterly results. Kingfisher Airlines hit the 5% lower circuit with investors continuing to press sales at the counter following the aviation regulator suspending the airliner's flying permit.
The market breadth was slightly negative. Out of 2944 stocks traded on BSE, 1490 stocks declined. 1308 stocks moved up and 146 stocks ended flat.