Despite opening on a fairly buoyant note on positive global cues, the Indian stock market faltered this morning, and then, notwithstanding a couple of smart rallies from lower levels, ended the session on a slightly weak note as investors chose to take some profits after recent gains.
Shares from rate sensitive automobile, banking and realty sectors saw some brisk buying once again, amid hopes of a rate cut. Metal, FMCG and healthcare stocks too surged higher, despite staying a bit subdued early on in the session.
Capital goods, power and PSU stocks ended on a mixed note, while information technology and oil stocks closed weak.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which rebounded to around 18,870 after a mild setback early on, tumbled to 18,673.44 around mid afternoon and eventually ended the day with a marginal loss of 13.77 points or 0.07% at 18,731.16. The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange settled at 5688.70, down 0.25 points from its previous close. The Nifty touched a high of 5732.15 and a low of 5669 during the day.
Sterlite Industries moved up by over 4%. Mahindra & Mahindra ended nearly 4% up. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries gained around 3% following an announcement from the company that it has received a tentative approval from the US drug regulator for generic version of Januvia.
State Bank of India ended nearly 3% up.ICICI Bank, ITC, Bajaj Auto, Maruti Suzuki, Hero Motocorp, Tata Motors, Coal India, Hindalco, GAIL India, NTPC and Bharti Airtel also closed on a positive note.
Sesa Goa, up nearly 4.5%, was the top gainer in the Nifty index. Ambuja Cements gained a little over 4%. Lupin, Punjab National Bank, Axis Bank, Kotak Bank, IndusInd Bank and ACC posted sharp to moderate gains. Yes Bank saw some buying after the company reported a 33% rise in net profit for the quarter ended March 2013.
Reliance Industries ended 3.3% down despite the company reporting a 32% surge in net profit for the quarter ended March 2013, as compared to its net profit in the corresponding quarter last year. However, on a sequential basis, its earnings remained flat in the January - March 2013 quarter. Its gross refining margin edged up to $10.1 a barrel in the March 2013 quarter, from $9.6 a barrel in the previous quarter.
HCL Technologies, which opened on an upbeat note thanks to a sharp jump in earnings, retreated later and ended the session with a loss of around 1.5%. The company reported a 73% rise in quarterly profit after winning orders and keeping a lid on hiring. Net profit rose to Rs 1,040 crore for the fiscal third-quarter ended March 31 from Rs 600 crore in the year-earlier period, the company said.
Reliance Infrastructure declined 2.4%. Tata Consultancy Services ended weak with investors treading cautiously ahead of results. ONGC, Tata Power, NMDC, BPCL, HDFC, Asian Paints, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, DLF, Infosys, Bank of Baroda, Ranbaxy Laboratories and Hindustan Unilever lost 0.5% - 1.7%.
With several midcap and smallcap stocks failing to hold at higher levels, the market breadth, which was a bit strong early on, turned neutral towards close. Out of 2484 stocks traded on BSE, 1128 stocks moved up. 1199 stocks declined and 157 stocks ended flat.