After opening lower on weak global cues on Tuesday, the Indian stock market edged higher on bargain hunting and short-covering and managd to eke out some gains after a choppy ride in somewhat lackluster trades.
Concerns about near term outlook for growth following the 25-basis points hike in the repo rate and fears of a further hike in the near future weighed on sentiment and prompted investors to tread cautiously. A weak close in most of the markets in the Asian region amid renewed concerns the US Federal Reserve might soon start scaling down stimulus, and a rating downgrade for India's GDP growth by Moody's Investors Service too contributed to the sluggish display.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which rose to 20,050.42 a little before noon after declining to 19,782.78 in early trades, eventually ended the day with a small gain of 19.25 points or 0.1% at 19,920.21. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 5892.45, nearly 50 points off the day's high of 5938.40, recording a gain of 2.70 points or 0.05%. The Nifty touched a low of 5854.55.
Capital goods stocks moved higher after recent losses. Automobile and power stocks too attracted buyers. Consumer durables, healthcare, FMCG and bank stocks ended on a mixed note. Realty and information technology stocks opened higher, but failed to hold gains. Oil and PSU stocks closed on a subdued note. Metal stocks declined.
With the focus mainly on large caps ahead of F&O expiry, midcap and smallcap stocks were mostly subdued. The market breadth was even. Out of 2468 stocks traded on BSE, 1147 stocks moved up. 1168 stocks declined and 153 stocks ended flat.
Bajaj Auto ended 2.75% up. Tata Power gained about 2.2%. Larsen & Toubro, NTPC, HDFC, Mahindra & Mahindra, Cipla and BHEL moved up by 1% - 2%. Tata Motors, Dr Reddy's Laboratories and GAIL India posted modest gains. NMDC, IndusInd Bank and Ultra Tech Cement also closed higher.
Hindalco declined by over 3.5%. BPCL, Coal India, Jindal Steel & Power, ACC, HCL Technologies, Bharti Airtel, Bank of Baroda, IDFC, DLF, Ranbaxy Laboratories, Jaiprakash Associates and Sesa Goa ended lower by 1% - 2.6%.