Up as much as 105 points at one point, the Sensex eventually ended with a loss of 51.03 points, or 0.91 per cent, at 5,567.12 points. The Sensex hit a high of 5,723.32 and a low of 5,556.31 intra-day. The 50-share S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) shed 21 points to 1,765.80, well off the days high of 1,818.60 points, while the FE-constituted FEfty declined 4.55 points to close at 2021.04 points.
Ambareesh Baliga, vice-president, Karvy Stock Broking Ltd, said, The mood in the market appeared optimistic in early trades after investor confidence appeared returning on the encouraging pricing for the public offer of Gail India. The upbeat sentiment appeared shortlived as there was considerable selling pressure across the board in the latter half of the day as players remained unenthused in the absence of any fresh trigger. Also, the expiry of the February future contracts took a toll on market sentiment.
Dealers said the market displayed huge volatility, quite typical of a futures expiry session. This was more conspicuous in last hours trading.
Among the major losers on Thursday, Bajaj Auto closed at Rs 866.25, down 4.22 per cent from its previous close. Heavyweights State Bank of India (down 2.05 per cent to Rs 575), Reliance Industries (down 1.98 per cent to Rs 543.35) and Hindustan Lever (down 1.09 per cent to Rs 172.60) contributed to the fall in the Sensex.
Among other counters, ONGC (up 4.66 per cent to Rs 701.50) jumped, but was off the days high of Rs 726.75. The ONGC stock rose as much as 8.42 per cent to Rs 726.75 intra-day on hopes that the proposed mega offer for sale of 10 per cent of the companys equity would be priced aggressively unlike other offers, like IBP and Dredging Corporation of India.