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After trading in the positive territory for most of the day, the Indian equity markets on Tuesday were pulled down to close on a flat note as investors were spooked ahead of the two-day US Federal Reserve's rate-setting meet slated for June 13-14.
Besides, outflow of foreign funds and heavy selling pressure witnessed in automobile, IT and metal stocks trimmed gains and pulled the key indices lower.
The wider 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) fell by 9.50 points or 0.10 per cent to close at 9,606.90 points.
In contrast, the 30-scrip Sensitive Index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 31,091.10 points, closed at 31,103.49 points -- up a mere 7.79 points or 0.03 per cent from its previous close at 31,095.70 points.
The Sensex touched a high of 31,260.77 points and a low of 31,062.34 points during intra-day trade.
The BSE market breadth was slightly bearish -- with 1,345 declines and 1,338 advances.
In terms of the broader markets, the BSE mid-cap index underperformed the Sensex, while the small-cap index outperformed. The S&P BSE mid-cap index was a tad up at 0.01 per cent and the small-cap index rose by 0.41 per cent.
"Stocks rose in early trade taking a cue from firm Asian indices, and as the CPI (Consumer Price Index) and IIP (Index of Industrial Production) data released after market hours yesterday (Monday) back home boosted expectations of an interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India at its next policy meeting in August 2017," Deepak Jasani, Head - Retail Research, HDFC Securities, told IANS.
"Key indices extended gains as the day's trade progressed and hit intra-day high in mid-afternoon trade tracking positive European stocks. However, stocks pared almost entire gains in late trade," he added.
According to the data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) after market hours on Monday, India's annual retail inflation (CPI) eased to a record low of 2.18 per cent in May, and the factory output growth (IIP) marginally slowed to 3.1 per cent in April.
On the currency front, the rupee strengthened by 10-11 paise to 64.33-34 to a US dollar from its last close of 64.44.
In investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) sold stocks worth Rs 312.40 crore, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought scrips worth Rs 304.58 crore.
According to Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls, the equity benchmarks ended in the red as selling intensified in the last hour of the trade.
"Market turnover was on the heavy side compared to yesterday. While metals, IT stocks, as well as auto and power stocks ended lower, FMCG and infrastructure gained. Today's selling can be attributed to profit booking before the US FOMC meeting tomorrow," Desai told IANS.
Sector-wise, the S&P BSE automobile index fell by 106.37 points, the IT index by 101.87 points, and the metal index by 94.18 points.
On the other hand, the S&P consumer durables index was up by 52.51 points, the FMCG index by 24.82 points and the finance index by 23.90 points.
Major Sensex gainers on Tuesday were: Power Grid, up 1.94 per cent at Rs 210; Lupin, up 1.73 per cent at Rs 1,177.40; HDFC, up 1.52 per cent at Rs 1,668.45; NTPC, up 1.27 per cent at Rs 160; and Adani Ports, up 0.67 per cent at Rs 359.50.
Major Sensex losers were: Tata Motors, down 1.51 per cent at Rs 449.60; Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), down 1.47 per cent at Rs 2,453.40; Wipro, down 1.44 per cent at Rs 259.35; Hero MotoCorp, down 0.59 per cent at Rs 3,752.55; and Infosys, down 0.58 per cent at Rs 958.20.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)