The markets ended a choppy session of trade on a flat note following weak cues from Asia, losses in the ADAG pack post the Sebi action and softness in realty and capital goods. The Sensex was up 21points at 18,882 and the Nifty was up 0.2 points at 5655.
The Sensex opened marginally higher at 18,911 and traded in a 330 points range. Elsewhere in Asia, China's Shanghai Composite was down 3%, at 2,707 led by losses in financials after the government unexpectedly raised reserve requirement for banks by 50 bps on Friday. Hong Kong's Heng Seng fell 0.5%, at 24,156, mainland Chinese banks and property developers weighed. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average ended flat at 10,500 and South Korea's Kospi Composite fell 0.4%, at 2,099.
Back home, the ADAG (Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group) shares were beaten badly; Reliance Infra slipped 7.5%, Reliance Capital fell 6.2%, Reliance Power dipped 6.1% and Reliance Communication was off 4.8% after the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) issued an order on Friday asking the AGAG firms (Reliance Power and Reliance Infrastructure) not to partcipate in the capital market as they used money from overseas borrowing to invest in the stock market.
Some OMCs partly pared gains on profit booking; Hindustan Petoleum was down 0.6% and Bharat Petrolem fell 1.1% after government hiked petrol prices by Rs 2.54 per litre during the weekend. Indian Oil Corporation, however, gained 1.2%.
Tata Steel recouped early losses and closed up 0.7% at Rs 626 after it fixed the follow-on public offer price at Rs 594-610. The issue will hit the markets between January 19 and 21 and the company is expected to raise Rs 3,477 crore at the higher end of the price band.
On the earnings front, engineering giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T) reported a 10.8% jump in net profit to Rs 840.5 crore for the third quarter. But the stock fell 1.7%, at Rs 1681.
HDFC up 3% followed by Infosys and Cipla which gained nearly 2% each were the top gainers on the Sensex. TCS,Bajaj Auto, Bharti Airtel and HDFC Bank up 1% were the other noteable gainers.
Reliance Infrastructure down nearly 8% was the top loser on the Sensex followed by Jaiprakash Associates, Reliance Communications, Sterlite, DLF, Hindalco and L&T lost 1% - 5%.
The market breadth was negative. Of the total 2997 stocks traded on the BSE, 1986 stocks had declined while 862 had advanced.