Key indices ended a choppy trading session in the red asmarkets moved into a consolidation phase after gaining in three out of four trading sessions this week. Steep losses in names like Bharti Airtel, HDFC Bank, Tata Motors and ITC weighed on the indices.At close, the Sensex was down 24 points at 21,265 and the Nifty was flat at 6,319.Earlier in the day, markets started on a positive note tracking Asian cues, but quickly lost ground on profit taking at higher levels. Through the day, the Sensex touched a high of 21,379 and a low of 21,199 in afternoon deals.Broader markets too were weak with the mid and smallcap indices closing in the negative terrain. The market breadth was negative as 1,510 stocks declined while 1,169 advanced on the BSE. The smallcap index was down 0.3% and the midcap index lost 0.1%, in line with the BSE benchmark index.Among the sectoral indices, Auto and FMCG closed down 0.8% each along with Health Care, Oil & Gas and Bankex indices down 0.2-0.6%.On the other hand, Metal index was up 1.8% followed by IT, Realty and Capital Goods indices up 0.2-0.6%.Power and Consumer Durables indices were turned flat in the closing hour.
Coal India up 3% was the top gainer among Sensex-30.Hindalco, Wipro, HDFC, BHEL, Tata Steel, Sesa Sterlite and Hindustan Unilever up 1-2% were the other major gainers.From the auto pack, Bajaj Auto was up 0.7% after the company today reported a 10.48% rise in net profit at Rs 904.55 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2013 as against Rs 818.74 crore posted in the same quarter a year earlier.Tata Motors, Sun Pharma, ONGC, Cipla, Maruti Suzuki, HDFC Bank and Mahindra & Mahindra down 1-2% were the major losers.Telecom stocks were on a weak footing after analyst at foreign brokerage house Credit Suisse downgrades Ideal Cellular and Bharti Airtel citing reasons that Reliance-Jio joining spectrum auctions is a “negative surprise,” against market expectation.Bharti Airtel slumped nearly 5% and was the top Sensex loser. Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications and Tata Communications slipped 2-7%.Speciality Restaurants moved higher by nearly 8% after the company said it has formed a joint venture with Al-Mohannadi Group for the purpose of running and operating of restaurants in Doha, Qatar under the brand name ‘Mainland China.”Sasken Communication Technologies soared 15% to Rs 193 after the company said its board will meet on Monday to consider a special dividend.Shares of Loveable Lingerie surged 2.4% to Rs 308 after the foreign investors bought an additional nearly 2% stake of the company for Rs 10 crore from open market.DCB Bank rallied 2.3% to Rs 59 on the BSE after reporting a strong 33% year-on-year (yoy) jump in net profit at Rs 36 crore for the third quarter ended December 2013 (Q3) on back of higher interest income and improvement in net interest margin. The private sector lender had registered a profit of Rs 27 crore in the year ago quarter.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei average edged down, erasing earlier gains on profit-taking as investors wanted to see more U.S. economic data before chasing the market higher. The Nikkei ended 0.4% lower at 15,747.20, after rising as high as 15,941.08 in earlier trade.The Hang Seng Index ended up 0.4% at 22,986.4 points while China share indexes stayed broadly flat on Thursday, with strength in non-banking financials balanced by weak banking counters, while profit-taking knocked an index of small cap stocks off a record high.The CSI300 of the biggest Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings ended up 0.1% at 2,211.8 points. The Shanghai Composite Index finished flat as volumes stayed lackluster.European shares too were in the negative with all the major indices like CAC, DAX and FTSE down 0.02-0.2%.