The Indian stock market opened lower on weak global cues, and, despite seeing some mild rallies during the day, turned in a highly lackluster performance with investors mostly staying away on the sidelines.
Asian markets recovered after early weakness, and most of the markets in the European region rebounded after the previous session's setback, but movements on the Indian bourses were quite sluggish amid cautious trades.
While stocks from FMCG, automobile and metal sectors drifted lower, those from realty, information technology and healthcare sectors saw some buying today. A few stocks from oil and power sectors too moved higher. Bank, capital goods and consumer durables stocks ended on a mixed note. Shares from railway and tyres sections attracted buyers.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which declined to around 19,290, ended the day with a marginal loss of 8.35 points or 0.04% at 19,317.01. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed at 5850.30, around 15 points off the day's low, recording a loss of 1.95 points or 0.03%.
Hindustan Unilever, Coal India and Maruti Suzuki lost 2% - 2.6%. HDFC ended 1.8% down following a rating downgrade. Tata Motors and ITC ended lower by 1.6% and 1.5%, respectively.
HDFC Bank, Sterlite Industries, BHEL, State Bank of India, Hero Motocorp and Hindalco also closed weak.
Jaiprakash Associates lost around 2.2%. Siemens ended 1.7% down. Sesa Goa, Bank of Baroda, BPCL and Grasim Industries also ended weak, albeit with modest losses.
Telecom stocks Bharti Airtel (4.5%), Reliance Communications and Idea Cellular moved up smartly. On Thursday, the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology said that the Department of Telecom has decided that a separate auction will be held for the balance of Spectrum in 1,800 MHz band in compliance with the direction of the Supreme Court in its order dated 15 February 2013. Details are being worked out and a separate NIA in this regard will be issued shortly, the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology said.
DLF ended stronger by a little over 3.5%. Wipro notched up a gain of 2.7% and Power Grid Corporation advanced by 2.3%. Punjab National Bank, ICICI Bank, Jindal Steel & Power and Infosys gained 1% - 1.6%.
Lupin ended higher by over 1% following an announcement from the company that it has received approval from the US FDA for its Suprax oral suspension used for treating bacterial infections. Kotak Bank, IDFC, GAIL India, Reliance Infrastructure, Larsen & Toubro, Ambuja Cements, Mahindra & Mahindra and Axis Bank also closed on a firm note.
Gujarat Gas saw some buying thanks to an impressive jump in the company's quarterly earnings. ABB and SKF India declined on weak results.
With midcap and smallcap stocks mostly struggling for support, the market breadth was slightly weak at close.