The benchmark indices moved in a narrow range and closed the day with marginal losses. The Sensex after moving in the narrow range of 3309.98 and 3275.58 closed just below the 3300-mark at 3298.79 losing 14.49 points. NSE S&P CNX Nifty Index also shed 4.20 points to close at 1,067.45.
The sentiment was bearish, with selling pressure almost across-the-board in opening trades. Tech stocks lost ground following the fall on the US markets on Tuesday. While defensive sector stocks displayed a mixed trend, stock-specific buying was witnessed in old economy pivotals. Activity on side counters was stock-specific. Recovery was seen in select old economy stocks after SBI announced impressive quarterly results.
The trading volumes at bourse also took beating as the bourses lacked direction. The turnover at BSE dipped considerably to Rs 1,132.23 crore from the previous Rs 1,294.21 crore on Tuesday.
MTNL (down 5.20 per cent to Rs 110.40) lost ground ahead of the announcement of its quarterly results on selling pressure amid concern over the rising competition in the telecom sector.
Tech pivotals like Infosys (down 2.60 per cent to Rs 3,669.25) and Satyam Computer (down 0.77 per cent to Rs 256.35) shed some of their Tuesdays gains following the overnight losses on the Nasdaq.
According to a deler with a foreign brokerage, the US stocks tumbled on Tuesday after Tyco International sparked worries that more companies will downwardly restate their financial results - the way Enron did before going bankrupt.
Reliance Petroleum (down 0.36 per cent to Rs 27.55) ended in the red despite better-than-expected results. For the quarter ended December 31, 2001, the refining giant posted a 1.50 per cent drop in net profit to Rs 402 crore (Rs 408 crore) on sales of Rs 8,166 crore (Rs 9,149 crore).
Dr Reddys Labs (down 0.95 per cent to Rs 940.80) ended in the red, coming off from the days high of Rs 977.70 on selling pressure along with the market.
Gujarat Ambuja Cements (up 5.28 per cent to Rs 213.35) recovered from the days low of Rs 200 on renewed buying support, on hopes that the proposed cut in petroleum prices may bring down the transportation costs of the company.
Tata Steel (up 4.45 per cent to Rs 99.85) rose on selective buying on reports that global steel prices have risen by over 10 per cent in the last one month.
State Bank of India (up 2.21 per cent to Rs 215.10) recovered from the days low of Rs 208.30 after the company announced impressive results.