Sensex trades flat as metal, oil and gas stocks plummet

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 31, 2013 07:50 hrs

Mumbai, Jan 31 (IANS) A benchmark index for Indian equities markets was trading flat in the afternoon trade Thursday, even as several banks announced cuts in their lending rates.

Several banks, including the State Bank of India (SBI), cut the rates following the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) decision to lower key lending rates in its third quarterly review of monetary policy.

There was heavy buying in the interest rate sensitive consumer durables and banking stocks.

However, metal, oil and gas and information technology (IT) stocks came under selling pressure.

The 30-scrip Sensex, which opened at 19,987.28 points, was ruling at 19,973.22 points, down 31.78 points or 0.16 percent around 12.30 p.m. from its previous close at 20,005.00 points.

The RBI Tuesday cut the short-term lending rate to 7.75 percent after a gap of nine months, and reduced the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) to 4 percent - which it hopes will translate into lowering of home, auto and corporate loans cost and improve liquidity in the system.

The Sensex touched an intra-day high of 20,008.83 points and a low of 19,9938.94 points. The midcap index was up 21.18 points, while the smallcap index was marginally higher by 2.79 points.

The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was trading marginally higher by 1.15 points or 0.02 percent at 6,056.90 points.

Major indices were up. The bank index was up 79.77 points followed by the public sector undertakings (PSU) index, which was up 68.45 points. The consumer durables index was up 32.36 points.

However, the metal index was down 32.18 points. And so was the oil and gas index, which was down 28.97 points. The IT index was lower by 12.81 points.

Among other Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei was up 0.22 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was lower by 0.38 percent. China's Shanghai Composite Index was trading up by 0.15 percent.

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