Markets remained flat amid range bound trades as gains in bank shares helped offset most of the losses in FMCG and auto shares. However, selling by foreign funds continued to weigh on market sentiment.
Foreign institutional investors sold Indian equities worth Rs 2,808.27 crore on Wednesday, as per provisional stock exchange data. The markets were closed on Thursday on account of Christmas Day holiday.
The Indian rupee was weak because of month-end dollar buying, and is trading at 63.62 to the dollar compared to the previous close of 63.52.
Among Asian markets, Nikkei pared early losses and was trading flat with positive bias. The Chinese Shanghai Composite index has extended gains from Thursday when the index had gained around 3% led by the surge in financials. It is trading higher by around 1.2%. Hong Kong market is closed on account of Christmas holidays.
BSE FMCG index was the top loser down 0.8% followed by Auto, Oil and Gas indices. Bankex and Capital Goods indices were among the top sectoral gainers.
FMCG majors witnessed profit taking with ITC and HUL down 1-1.4% each.
Reliance Industries pared early gains and was down 0.2%. Media reports suggest that the company has signed a deal with Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) for transporting liquefied ethane from North America starting 2017.
In the auto segment, Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp, M&M, Bajaj Auto and Maruti Suzuki were down 0.2-0.9% each.
Financial shares were among the top gainers with HDFC Bank, SBI, Axis Bank and HDFC up 0.3-0.9% each.
Infosys, L&T and Sun Pharma were among the other Sensex gainers.
Among other shares, VST Tillers Tractors has dipped 3% to Rs 1,353, extending its Wednesday’s 2.4% fall on NSE, after the company said its management has decided to restrict the production to 4 days a week both at Bangalore and Hosur plant.
Alphageo (India) has surged 9% to Rs 528 in otherwise weak market, extending is previous day’s gain on NSE, after the company said it has been awarded Rs 10.42 crore contract from the state-owned oil exploration and production firm Oil India.
Shares of edible oil maker Ruchi Soya Industries has rallied 6% to Rs 37.55 on NSE on reports that the government has hiked import duty on both crude and refined edible oil by 5%.
The broader market outperformed the benchmarks with BSE Mid-cap and Small-cap indices up 0.3-0.4% each.
Market breadth was strong with 1137 gainers and 908 losers on the BSE.