Interest rate sensitive bank, automobile and realty stocks saw some good buying, but the broad market moved in a tight range amid highly lackluster trades and ended flat today, as investors mostly stayed away on the sidelines, choosing to tread cautiously amid mixed cues from Asian and European markets.
Hopes of a rate cut from the central bank, which will unveil its third quarter monetary policy review on Tuesday, triggered some buying rate sensitives.
Select information technology and metal stocks moved higher. FMCG and healthcare stocks mostly closed flat. Capital goods, oil, power and consumer durables stocks drifted lower. Activity was mostly stock specific in midcap and smallcap segments.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which surged to 20,172.45 in early trades, lost its way soon and declined to 20,062.79 around mid afternoon, and eventually ended the session at 20,013.35, down by a slender 0.18 points from its previous closing mark. The broader 50-stock Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange settled at 6074.80, down slightly from its previous close of 6074.65, after surging to 6088.40 in early trades.
Tata Motors moved up by 2.5%. Hero Motocorp gained 1.9%, while Mahindra & Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki and Bajaj Auto ended higher by 0.3% - 0.6%.
Metal stocks Hindalco (1.8%) and Sterlite Industries (1.6%), private sector bank stocks ICICI Bank (1.6%), HDFC Bank (0.9%) and IT stocks Wipro (1.5%) and Tata Consultancy Services (0.5%) also closed on a firm note.
GAIL India ended 1.3% up. ITC, Coal India and Cipla posted modest gains.
Realty stock DLF, up 2.9%, was the top gainer in the Nifty index. Axis Bank surged 2.2%. HCL Technologies, Cairn India, Ranbaxy Laboratories, IDFC and Power Grid Corporation gained 1% - 2%.
Reliance Infrastructure lost 2.3% after the company said it posted a net profit for the quarter ended December 2012, due to a one-time gain following a stake sale in its subsidiary Reliance Power.
Jaiprakash Associates ended nearly 2% down. Ultratech Cement, Bank of Baroda, Lupin, BPCL, Ambuja Cements, Grasim Industries and Siemens also closed weak.
Glenmark Pharmaceuticals saw some buying following the company receiving an approval from USFDA for Mupirocin Calcium Cream, used for treading secondarily infected traumatic skin lesions.
Bank of India, Bharat Electronics, JSW Steel and Puravankara Projects attracted buyers on announcing impressive results. Whirlpool, Adani Power, Adani Ports and ICRA drifted lower on weak quarterly numbers.
The market breadth was positive. On BSE, 1213 stocks moved up and 992 stocks declined, while 767 stocks ended flat.