The indices opened in the green and moved in a narrow-range for major part of the day as investors lacked conviction after a sharp fall in previous session. However, positive opening of European markets brought some optimism back in the market.
“There is no participation to withstand the selling pressure. FIIs have been on a selling spree; buying is not seen from mutual funds who are sitting on cash ahead of elections. Corporate results will be a non-event and any rate cut by the RBI will give only temporary relief. Going ahead, markets are likely to be rangebound and take cues from global markets,” said U R Rao, head of research, ULJK Securities.
Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensex closed at 8,446.49, up 19.20 points or 0.23 per cent. The index touched an intra-day high 8501.46 and low of 8373.24.
National Stock Exchange’s Nifty ended at 2645.20, up 22.8 points or 0.87 per cent. The index touched a low of 2611.95 and high of 2655.70 during the day.
Second rung stocks were also out of action. The BSE Midcap Index was down 0.33 per cent and BSE Smallcap Index edged 0.64 per cent lower.
Biggest Sensex gainers were Reliance Infrastructure (4.56%), Grasim Industries (3.99%), Tata Consultancy Services (3.57%), Jaiprakash Associates (3.56%) and Hindalco Industries (3.35%).
Losers comprised ICICI Bank (-4.08%), HDFC (-3.24%), BHEL (-2.37%), State Bank of India (-1.88%) and Reliance Communications (-0.76%).
Market breadth on BSE showed 1,440 declines against 993 advances.
Cement stocks continued their upward momentum after reporting increased sales in February. Cement dispatches in February picked up with the all-round improvement in the economy after the government announced a series of stimulus packages. They also benefited from reports of that manufacturers have raised prices by 5-8 per 50 kg bag in Mumbai and Gujarat from Sunday. Grasim Industries was higher by 3.65 percent at Rs 1,365, ACC was up 2.11 per cent at Rs 534.55, Shree Cement surged 3.47 per cent to Rs 575.60 and Ambuja Cements climbed 5.55 per cent to Rs 66.60.
Meanwhile, European markets bounced led by gains in metals oil and banks. AT 5 pm, IST, FTSE 100 was up 1.68 per cent, CAC 40 moved 2 up per cent and DAX gained 2.72 per cent. Wall Street is also likely to open higher as stock futures indicate. Dow Jones futures was up 1.60 per cent, S&P 500 up 1.74 per cent and Nasdaq 100 advanced 1.40 per cent.