A normal monsoon forecast by IMD kept the hope factor alive for stocks today as the Sensex closed higher -- albeit marginally -- after four days of losses in the face of muted corporate results so far. The Nifty, however, ended in the red amid a recovery in Europe. With more companies due to announce results, investors remained largely cautious. The government's weather office yesterday predicted a normal monsoon for June-September, which is expected to give a boost to the rural economy. At the close, the 30-share index stood at 29,336.57, up 17.47 points, or 0.06 per cent.
The barometer had lost 469.25 points in the previous four sessions, largely because of continued geo-political tensions and rising wave of global protectionism in the form of visa restrictions. The 50-share NSE Nifty shed 1.65 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 9,103.50. "The Indian Meteorological Department's first stage forecast for the important Indian monsoon season suggested... a near normal season," said Karthikraj Lakshmanan, Senior Fund Manager, Equities, BNP Paribas Mutual Fund. Mirroring overnight losses in the US, most Asian shares turned lower after Britain's shock decision to call an early election added to global uncertainties, traders said. TCS, the country's largest software exporter, today fell 0.30 per cent after the company's March quarter profit came in below expectations. PowerGrid took the top rank, climbing 4.35 per cent. Adani Ports, NTPC, Asian Paints, Coal India and Maruti Suzuki rose by up to 1.24 per cent. SBI, Hero MotoCorp, Dr Reddy's and ICICI Bank faced selling pressure. BSE power index made the maximum advance, rising 2.04 per cent, followed by realty, metal and capital goods. Broader markets were better-off, with the small-cap and mid-cap gaining more than the benchmark. Foreign investors net sold shares worth Rs 930.67 crore while domestic institutional investors bought shares worth 878.08 crore yesterday, provisional data showed.