After a modestly positive start, the Indian stock market faltered, plunged deeper into the red around mid afternoon, and despite regaining some lost ground during the fag end, closed on a weak note on Wednesday.
While stocks opened higher following a weak U.S. jobs report raising hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve will continue its asset buying program till early next year, a sell-off in Asian markets amid fears of likely monetary tightening by the Chinese central bank dragged down stocks in afternoon trade.
Quarterly results from India Inc were mixed. The rupee opened higher against the greenback but gave up early gains.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which advanced to 20,922.32 early on in the session, plunged to 20,589.72 later in the day and finally closed at 20,767.88, losing 97.09 points or 0.47%.
The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange, which surged to 6217.95 in early trades, ended lower by 24.45 points or 0.39% at 6178.35, more than 60 points off the day's low of 6116.60.
Realty, power and information technology stocks declined sharply, but recovered some lost ground towards the end of the session. Oil, healthcare and automobile stocks too came off lower levels. Metal, PSU and FMCG stocks ended on a mixed note.
Bank stocks rose sharply early on, with the government's decision to infuse Rs 14,000 crore into the PSU banks lifting sentiment, but most of them gave up their gains as the session progressed. Select capital goods stocks closed on a firm note.
Wipro ended lower by 4.4% despite posting better than expected quarterly results.
Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, NTPC, BHEL, Bajaj Auto, HDFC Bank, Tata Steel, ONGC, Tata Motors, Coal India, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Tata Consultancy Services, Bharti Airtel and Mahindra & Mahindra closed lower by 1% - 2.5%.
Reliance Industries, Jindal Steel & Power, Hindalco and Infosys also closed weak.
Cairn India declined 3.8%. DLF closed lower by a little over 3%. Jaiprakash Associates, Ranbaxy Laboratories, Ultra Tech Cement, Grasim Industries and Power Grid Corporation also closed notably lower.
GAIL India gained nearly 4% on the back of reports that the oil ministry has decided to exempt the company from sharing subsidy burden with state-run oil retailers.
ACC ended more than 2% up. The stock declined after the company reported a near 51% drop in net profit for the quarter ended September 2013, but bounced back in late afternoon trade.
Bank of Baroda closed stronger by 5.3%. Cipla ended 2.8% up. State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, NMDC, Larsen & Toubro, ICICI Bank, Maruti Suzuki and Axis Bank also closed on a firm note.
Hero Motocorp ended nearly a percent up. The two-wheeler maker reported a net profit of Rs 481.41 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2013 as compared to Rs 440.58 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2012. Total income increased from Rs 5286.80 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2012 to Rs 5841.67 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2013.
Exide Industries declined on disappointing results. Gujarat Fluorochemicals and L&T Finance Holdings too ended lower on weak results.
Hindustan Zinc and Gujarat Pipavav Port saw some buying on impressive quarterly numbers. Strides Arcolab, Welspun Corp and Vascon Engineers moved higher on stock specific news.
The market breadth was slightly weak. Out of 2593 stocks traded on BSE, 1230 stocks declined. 1184 stocks moved up and 179 stocks ended flat.