The benchmark index for Indian markets Wednesday gave up its intra-day gains and closed on a flat note with sentiments dampened as official data showed that economic growth for the October-December quarter was at its slowest in three years.
The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 17,919.93 points, closed at 17,752.68 points, 21.56 points or 0.12 percent up from its previous close at 17,731.12 points. The Sensex had risen 270 points in early trade to breach the 18,000-mark.
The 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange also ended similarly lacklustre at 5,385.20 points, up 9.7 points or 0.18 percent from its previous close. Broader markets were also in the green, with the BSE 500 index closing 0.37 percent higher. The BSE midcap index, however, gained 1.1 percent while the BSE smallcap index was ruling 0.62 percent higher. Among the sectoral indices on the BSE, energy, PSU, metal and realty stocks were among major gainers. Capital goods and FMCG scrips were among the losers.
Overseas funds, the primary catalyst for the dramatic rise in Indian equities in 2012, bought stocks worth USD174.29 million Wednesday, according to data available with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have put in more than USD7 billion since the start of the year, having bought equities worth USD2.03 billion in January and over USD5 billion in February.
The gainers on the Sensex were ONGC, up 3.46 percent at Rs 293.35; Sterlite, up 2.98 percent at Rs 124.55; RIL, up 2.84 percent at Rs 818.65 and Wipro, up 2.72 percent at Rs 431.75. Major losers included L&T, down 2.91 percent at Rs 1,308.10; HDFC Bank, down 2.34 percent at Rs 517.80; Jindal Steel, down 1.81 percent at Rs 584.15 and ITC, down 1.35 percent at Rs 207.75. The market breadth was positive, with 1,593 stocks advancing, 1,295 on the decline and 137 unchanged.
Asian markets closed mixed. The Japanese Nikkei closed flat at 9,723.24 points, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng moved up 0.52 percent to end at 21,680.08 points. The Chinese Shanghai Composite index was ruling 0.95 percent down at 2,428.49 points.
European markets too were trading quiet. Britain's FTSE 100 was trading 0.15 percent lower at 5,918.94 points. The German DAX was trading 0.36 percent up at 6,912.73 points. The French CAC 40 was up 0.3 percent at 3,464.52 points.