Equities ended flat in thin trade today, with benchmark Sensex finishing below the 30,000-mark on lack of positive cues amid a mixed trend overseas. The 30-share index opened in green and advanced to 30,017.82, but later succumbed to profit-booking to hit the day’s low of 29,911.44. It finally ended at 29,933.25, up 7.10 points, or 0.02 per cent. The broader Nifty, however, defended the psychologically- key 9,300-level. It ended the day at 9,316.85, up 2.80 points, or 0.03 per cent, after shuttling between 9,338.95 and 9,307.70
Investors preferred to book profits and waited for the next trigger post French elections, brokers said. “Good corporate results, government’s reforms and good domestic inflows are maintaining buoyancy in the market. “But lack of confidence is leading to profit booking, which is evident at the higher level. Weaknesses in rupee and further selling from FIIs can be important factors going ahead,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
Foreign portfolio investors continued their selling spree and offloaded stocks worth Rs 542.47 crore yesterday, as per provisional data. It was a mixed bag for Asian equities, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rising 1.27 per cent and Shanghai Composite Index gaining 0.06 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei, however, shed 0.26 per cent. European stock markets were mostly higher, with UK’s FTSE, France’s CAC and Germany’s DAX up by up to 0.51 per cent.
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Back home, banking stocks erased the gains of their recent rally as participants pocketed profits at higher levels. In the cement space, Ambuja Cements and ACC, which had been rising in the previous few sessions on talks of a merger, fell by up to 1.27 per cent. However, the broader markets outperformed the Sensex, with the small-cap index rising 0.53 per cent and the mid-cap index gaining 0.19 per cent.
L&T was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rising 2 per cent, followed by Adani Ports (1.56 per cent). Other major gainers were Wipro (1.21 per cent), Axis Bank (1.21 per cent), Tata Motors (0.82 per cent), GAIL (0.73 per cent), RIL (0.65 per cent), M&M (0.51 per cent), TCS (0.46 per cent), NTPC (0.44 per cent), Tata Steel (0.34 per cent), and Sun Pharma (0.27 per cent). Shares of Hero MotoCorp, Lupin, SBI, Power Grid, ICICI Bank, HDFC Ltd, Dr Reddy’s and ITC dropped by up to 3.07 per cent.
Bharti Airtel fell 1.75 per cent as investors trimmed their positions ahead of its results. Among BSE sectoral and industry indices, capital market rose 1.90 per cent, industrials 1.27 per cent, power 0.99 per cent, metal 0.76 per cent, oil&gas 0.76 per cent, energy 0.61 per cent and realty 0.52 per cent.
However, telecom fell 0.76 per cent, consumer durables 0.63 per cent, bankex 0.19 per cent, finance 0.18 per cent and healthcare 0.11 per cent. Market breadth remained positive as 1,469 stocks ended higher, 1,355 closed with losses while 174 ruled steady.
The total turnover on BSE amounted to Rs 3,953.75 crore, higher than Rs 3,208.30 crore registered during the previous trading session.