In volatile trade, the benchmark Sensex today slipped from five-week high levels and closed over 24 points lower on fag-end selling in bluechips including Bharti Airtel, Tata Motors and ONGC, amid mixed global trends.
After yesterday's over 256-point surge, the BSE Sensex index opened higher and gained nearly 90 points to touch day's high of 21,379.29 but succumbed to late selling. It ended 24.31 points, or 0.11 per cent, lower at 21,265.18. The gauge had touched intra-day low of 21,199.65.
In the 30-share barometer, 16 stocks declined led by Bharti Airtel, Cipla Ltd, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, HDFC Bank, Hero MotoCorp and ITC Ltd. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) closed nearly flat ahead of earnings release expected after market hours.
The broad-based National Stock Exchange index NSE Nifty eased by 2 points, or 0.03 per cent, to end at 6,318.90.
Telecom stocks faced heavy selling pressure and plunged over 7 per cent amid concerns that Reliance Jio Infocomm's participation in the upcoming spectrum auction will hurt market share and profitability of existing telecom players.
Shares of Idea Cellular tanked 7.25 per cent, Bharti Airtel tumbled 4.84 per cent and Reliance Communications lost 4.18 per cent.
Bucking the overall downtrend, stocks of HCL Technologies spurted by 4.23 per cent after company reported 58.4 per cent growth in quarterly profit for the period ended December 31.
In the auto segment, Bajaj Auto gained 0.66 per cent after company reported a 10.48 per cent increase in standalone net profit for the third quarter ended December 31.
Axis Bank scrip ended marginally down after reporting 19 per cent increase in quarterly net profit at Rs 1,604 crore.
Brokers said the emergence of profit-booking after yesterday's rally and a mixed trend in the global markets mainly influenced the trading sentiment.
Overall, seven out of 12 sectoral indices closed lower.
The BSE Auto sector index suffered the most by losing 0.84 per cent, followed by FMCG index by 0.80 per cent, the Healthcare index 0.57 per cent.
* BSE index falls 0.11 pct; NSE ends 0.03 pct lower
* Telecom stocks fall on spectrum bidding worries, Reliance entry
* HCL Technologies hits record high after Q2 profit beat
BSE Sensex down 24 pts in volatile trade; Airtel tanks nearly 5 pct
(Reuters) Indian shares ended marginally lower on Thursday, retracing from their highest levels in five weeks, as mobile carriers such as Idea Cellular slumped on possible high bidding prices at a spectrum auction next month with eight companies applying.
Consolidation came after shares rose in three of four sessions as of Wednesday, marking a 2.8 percent gain for the BSE index on rising bets the central bank would keep interest rates unchanged at its Jan. 28 meet.
The bets of a status quo on rates got a boost after data on Wednesday showed headline inflation fell to a five-month low. The central bank governor kept rates unchanged in his last review after two consecutive hikes.
"Indian shares would continue to edge higher till the RBI policy. Also, it's better that the environment remains positive in markets as the government plans to sell stakes in various companies," said G Chokkalingam, founder of research and fund advisory company Equinomics.
Traders say an optimistic start to the December-quarter earnings season by Infosys Ltd and HCL Technologies is expected to be strengthened by Tata Consultancy Services, which reports later in the day. Reliance Industries' earnings on Friday would keep the sentiment positive.
The benchmark BSE index fell 0.11 percent, or 24.31 points, to end at 21,265.18, after earlier marking its highest intraday level since Dec. 9.
The broader NSE index lost 0.03 percent, or 2 points, to end at 6,318.90, but still managed to close above the psychologically important 6,300 level.
Mobile carriers slumped on concerns over possible high bidding prices at a spectrum auction next month after eight companies applied to bid, signalling much stronger competition than expected.
Idea Cellular Ltd slumped 7.2 percent, marking its biggest single-day percentage fall since May 2010, while Bharti Airtel Ltd fell 4.8 percent, the most since September 2013.
Reliance Communications dropped 4.2 percent, just marginally away from marking its highest intraday level since August 2013.
LIC Housing Finance fell 1 percent after its December-quarter net profit rose by 38.2 percent to 3.27 billion rupees, falling short of some analysts' expectations.
TCS fell 0.1 percent ahead of its October-December results later in the day.
However, HCL Technologies Ltd rose 4.5 percent after earlier rising to a record high of 1,398 rupees after the company's December-quarter consolidated net profit rose more than expected.
Bajaj Auto rose 0.7 percent after the company reported a better-than-expected 10.5 percent increase in quarterly net profit, helped by foreign exchange gains and as higher revenues from exports helped offset weak demand for its vehicles.
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