Profit booking and caution on the eve of the ECB (European Central Bank) meet subdued the Indian equity markets on Wednesday, as both the key indices closed on a flat note after a volatile day of trade.
The wider 51-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) edged down by 25.05 points or 0.28 per cent to 8,917.95 points.
The barometer 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 29,035.67 points, closed at 28,926.36 points -- down 51.66 points or 0.18 per cent from the previous close at 28,978.02 points.
The Sensex touched a high of 29,067.84 points and a low of 28,911.31 points during the intra-day trade.
The BSE market breadth was marginally tilted in favour of the bears -- with 1,390 declines and 1,357 advances.
On Tuesday, both the key Indian indices had touched their 52-week high in almost 18 months and closed the day's trade in the green with gains of over 1.5 per cent each.
The barometer index had gained 445.91 points or 1.56 per cent, while the NSE Nifty surged 133.35 points or 1.51 per cent.
Initially on Wednesday, the benchmark indices opened on a firm note, following positive global markets due to lessened chances of a US rate hike.
In addition, the markets remained buoyed prompted by healthy foreign fund inflows.
However, the markets ended with minor losses due to profit booking at higher levels during the later hours of trade.
Investors also traded with caution ahead of the ECB (European Central Bank) meet on Thursday, which could provide clues on global liquidity.
"Markets opened on a firm note following healthy FII (foreign institutional investors) inflows and lessened chances of a US rate hike," Anand James, Chief Market Strategist at Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services, told IANS.
"However, gains were capped as investors were seen reluctant to chase prices further."
Dhruv Desai, Director and Chief Operating Officer of Tradebulls stated that the CNX Nifty traded with sideways to bearish sentiments throughout the trading session mainly due to profit booking at higher levels.
"IT and banking stocks traded with mixed sentiments, while pharma sector stocks failed to hold the initial gains in second half of the session and traded down on profit booking at higher levels," Desai said.
"Auto and oil-gas stocks managed to hold the early gains on strong buying support from traders. Textile sector stocks traded firm while FMCG stocks faced profit booking at higher levels."
He further added that lower USD/INR futures prices supported Nifty from any heavy selling pressure.
The rupee appreciated by 15 paise to 66.38 against a US dollar from its previous close of 66.53 to a greenback.
In terms of investments, provisional data with the exchanges showed that the foreign institutional investors (FIIs) purchased stocks worth Rs 1,854.06 crore, whereas the domestic institutional investors (DIIs) divested scrips worth Rs 768.55 crore.
Sector-wise, the S&P BSE consumer durables index plunged by 123.48 points, followed by the oil and gas index, which declined by 40 points, and the utilities index fell by 16.33 points.
On the other hand, the S&P BSE capital goods index surged by 185.23 points, the metal index surged by 106.28 points, and the automobile index gained 37.19 points.
Major Sensex gainers during Wednesday's trade were: State Bank of India (SBI), up 2.74 per cent at Rs 266.55; ONGC, up 2.51 per cent at Rs 245.10; ICICI Bank, up 2.09 per cent at Rs 278.15; Tata Steel, up 1.06 per cent at Rs 389.95; and Infosys, up 0.95 per cent at Rs 1,055.
Major Sensex losers were: Asian Paints, down 1.92 per cent at Rs 1,177.70; HDFC, down 1.87 per cent at Rs 1,427.70; Axis Bank, down 1.72 per cent at Rs 625; NTPC, down 1.50 per cent at Rs 161.05; and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), down 1.49 per cent at Rs 2,447.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)