Caution ahead of the Karnataka assembly election results and a rise in the April wholesale inflation rate subdued the key Indian equity indices on Monday.
Market observers said that even an expected rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate dented investors' sentiments. Besides, heavy selling pressure was witnessed in consumer durables, auto and capital goods stocks.
Index-wise, the wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed flat at 10,806.60 points.
The barometer Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 35,555.83 points, closed at 35,556.71 points -- up 20.92 points or 0.06 per cent -- from its previous day's close.
The Sensex touched a high of 35,642.72 points and a low of 35,456.56 points in the trade.
The BSE market breadth was bearish with 1,860 declines and 815 advances. On NSE, too, market breadth was bearish throughout the day.
"Markets ended with marginal gains on Monday after correcting in the morning session. Traders seemed to be cautious ahead of Karnataka Assembly poll results tomorrow, 15 May 2018," said Deepak Jasani, Head of Retail Research, HDFC Securities.
He added: "Broad market indices the BSE mid-cap and small-cap indices fell sharply, thereby underperforming the main indices."
Apart from Tuesday's election results, Abhijeet Dey, Senior Fund Manager, Equities at BNP Paribas Mutual Fund attributed the selling pressure on the higher wholesale inflation rate and the deceleration in industrial production numbers which were released on last Friday.
On the currency front, the Indian rupee weakened by 19 paise to 67.52 against the US dollar from its previous close at 67.33 per greenback.
In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors bought scrips worth 7179.9 million and the domestic institutional investors purchased stocks worth 6872.3 million
On the other hand, the S&P BSE consumer durables index plunged by 549.25 points, the auto stocks dropped by 235.61 points and the capital goods stocks ended 155.74 points lower.
The major gainers on the Sensex were NTPC, up 2.51 per cent at Rs 171.75; Dr Reddy's Lab, up 1.24 per cent at Rs 2,015.50; IndusInd Bank, up 1.07 per cent at Rs 1,914.45; State Bank of India, up 0.98 per cent at Rs 253.35; and Hero MotoCorp, up 0.92 per cent at Rs 3,649.35 per share.
The top losers were Mahindra and Mahindra, down 2.17 per cent at Rs 850.10; Tata Motors (DVR), down 2.05 per cent at Rs 190.90; Tata Motors, down 2 per cent at Rs 324.15; Yes Bank, down 1.51 per cent at Rs 344.65; and Bharti Airtel, down 1.09 per cent at Rs 381.50 per share.