Moving in a tight band amid lackluster trades right through the session amid a lack of cues, the Indian stock market managed to eke out marginal gains today.
With most of the markets in the Asian region drifting lower amid worries about the financial situation in the eurozone and European markets turning in a lackluster performance, the mood was extremely cautious on the Indian bourses today. The overnight negative close on Wall Street too weighed on sentiment to a notable extent.
Activity was mostly stock specific today. Short-covering ahead of June series derivatives expiry pushed up prices of some front line stocks.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which moved in a band of around 130 points - it touched a high of 16,946.66 and a low of 16,815.87 during the day - ended at 16,906.58 with a gain of 24.42 points or 0.14%.
The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange settled at 5120.80, around 15 points off the day's high of 5134.55, recording a gain of 6.15 points or 0.12%. The Nifty touched a low of 5095.50.
Oil stocks, led by sector heavyweights Reliance Industries (1.05%) and ONGC (1.6%) had a good outing. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation gained 2.4%, Gujarat State Petronet moved up by 3.3%, GAIL India notched up a gain of 2.8% and Oil India ended 1.5% up.
Power stocks Siemens, Reliance Power, NTPC, Reliance Infrastructure, Tata Power, Thermax and BHEL closed with sharp to moderate gains.
Among bank stocks, Bank of Baroda, Federal Bank, HDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank, Kotak Bank, Andhra Bank, Allahabad Bank and Union Bank of India moved up smartly. Axis Bank and ICICI Bank posted modest losses, while State Bank of India ended flat.
Pharmaceuticals stocks Divi's Laboratories, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Cipla and Ranbaxy Laboratories closed on a firm note.
Tata Consultancy Services, Mahindra & Mahindra, Hero Motocorp, Hindalco, Bajaj Auto, Coal India and Jindal Steel ended higher.
Hindustan Unilever lost around 2%. Sterlite Industries, ITC, Infosys and Tata Steel drifted down by 1% - 1.2%. Bharti Airtel and Larsen & Toubro also ended notably lower.
Manappuram Finance traded firm right through the day and ended with a gain of over 11%. Reports that Baring India has raised its stake in the company to 5.94%, and the 'stable' rating for the stock from ICRA attracted investors to the counter.
Muthoot Finance shot up by nearly 11%. Tata Global Beverages, Marico, United Phosphorus, Gujarat State Petronet, Grasim Industries, JP Infratech, Sun TV Network, Zee Entertainment, Dish TV India, Alstom T&D, NMDC and MOIL gained 2% - 5.5%.
The market breadth was even. Out of 2875 stocks traded on BSE, 1383 stocks moved up. 1355 stocks declined and 137 stocks ended flat.