After opening on a positive note and trading higher till a little past noon, the market retreated on a mild bout of selling pressure in afternoon trade. Despite coming off the day's lows, the market ended the day just marginally up as investors appeared quite reluctant to build up positions ahead of release of the crucial inflation data on Friday.
Shrugging off a somewhat subdued trend on the Asian bourses, the Indian market moved up in early trades, due largely to some strong buying in PSU, oil and FMCG sectors. A few stocks from capital goods section too moved higher. However, most of these stocks lost their way subsequently and ended the day off their highs.
Metal and pharmaceuticals stocks were mostly subdued on profit taking. Realty stocks failed to sustain at higher levels. Information technology and bank stocks ended on a mixed note.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which rose to 18,062.68, ended the day with a gain of 21.13 points or 0.12% at 18,021.16, after drifting down to 17,976.28.
The Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange settled at 5435.35, gaining 4.35 points or 0.08%. It touched a high of 5447.45 and a low of 5421.85 during the day.
Hero Motocorp, Bajaj Auto, BHEL, Hindustan Unilever, ICICI Bank and Infosys gained 1% - 2%. Coal India, ONGC, Wipro, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, GAIL India, Larsen & Toubro and State Bank of India closed with modest gains.
BPCL, up 2%, was the top gainer in the Nifty index. Reliance Infrastructure, HCL Technologies and Grasim Industries also closed on a firm note.
Bharti Airtel ended lower by about 3%. Cipla eased by 2.7%. Ranbaxy Laboratories, Siemens, Tata Motors, Jindal Steel, Sesa Goa, SAIL, Sterlite Industries, ACC and Mahindra & Mahindra lost 1% - 2%.
Bank of Baroda, Axis Bank, HDFC, DLF, Cairn India, Maruti Suzuki and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries also closed weak.