After a fairly bright start thanks to positive global cues, the Indian stock market retreated and slipped into negative territory as the session progressed, and, despite staging a smart recovery during the fag end of the day amid high volatility, closed flat on Tuesday.
While stocks opened higher, tracking the overnight sharp surge on Wall Street, where the indices rose sharply amid hopes that the U.S. policymakers will come out with a solution to fix the fiscal cliff, renewed worries about eurozone debt crisis rendered the mood a bit bearish in afternoon trade.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which declined to 18,255.69 from the day's high of 18,467.91, ended the day with a loss of 9.68 points at 18,329.32. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 5571.55, slightly above its previous closing mark. The Nifty touched a high of 5613.70 and a low of 5548.35 during the day.
Realty stocks tumbled, dragging the BSE Realty index down by over 3%. Oil, metal and capital goods stocks too mostly closed weak. FMCG, information technology, bank and healthcare stocks closed on a mixed note. Automobile stocks outperformed the market.
Mahindra & Mahindra moved up by 3.3%. HDFC, Tata Power, IDFC, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro, Power Grid Corporation, HDFC Bank and Lupin gained 1.3% - 2%.
Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki, Hindustan Unilever, Coal India and ICICI Bank also closed on a firm note.
Jaiprakash Associates lost around 3.7%. DLF declined by 2.4%. Punjab National Bank, Hindalco, Reliance Infrastructure, Sesa goa, Bajaj Auto, Ambuja Cements, State Bank of India, Reliance Industries, Infosys, Cairn India and ONGC also ended on a weak note.
Reliance Capital, Greaves Cotton and Eicher Motors attracted buyers on stock specific news.
With several stocks from midcap and smallcap segments drifting lower on selling pressure, the market breadth was weak.
Out of 2976 stocks traded on BSE, 1802 stocks declined. 1051 stocks moved up and 123 stocks ended flat.