The benchmark BSE Sensex closed nearly flat today at 21,832.86 weighed down by losses in IT heavyweights TCS and Infosys on growth outlook fears, amid caution ahead of a closely-watched US Fed policy review later tonight.
Like Infosys which recently came out with a earnings warning, the country's largest software services exporter Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) signalled sequentially slower growth in March quarter leading to its shares plunging 3.84 per cent. TCS was the biggest loser in 30-share Sensex today.
"We attended TCS' Q4 preview briefing, where the company emphasised that weak India business and lower working days could drag the quarterly growth rate," said brokerage ICICIdirect.com in a report.
Infosys tumbled 2.32 per cent and both the IT counters weighed down on BSE Sensex that ended almost unchanged.
Gains in HDFC, ITC, Axis Bank, RIL, Tata Steel, HDFC Bank, Hindalco and Sesa Sterlite helped the index end just 0.25 points higher, said traders.
The BSE 30-share indicator resumed slightly better and was trapped in a narrow breadth of 114 points before settling at 21,832.86 from its previous close of 21,832.61.
The NSE 50-issue CNX Nifty, however, edged up by 7.40 points, or 0.11 per cent, to end at 6,524.05.
Jignesh Chaudhary, Head of Research, Veracity Broking Services said: "Asian markets traded cautiously on the backdrop of geopolitical tensions over Ukraine. Also, investors are waiting for the Fed policy review due later today. It is expected to further scale back its bond-buying at the meeting, reducing purchases by USD 10 billion."
Except Japan which ended marginally higher, other Asian markets ended lower as investors weighed the prospect of further sanctions against Russia and awaited the US Fed's policy statement. Indices in South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and China fell in 0.07-0.49 per cent range.
European markets were also trading narrowly mixed as indices in France and UK eased by 0.06 per cent to 0.10 per cent while Germany's DAX was up 0.33 per cent.
"After easing inflation, investors now are expecting status quo in the upcoming RBI monetary policy, which is due on April 1 and will also be decisive factor for the market trend. Upcoming Lok Sabha elections is also major trigger for markets," said Nidhi Saraswat, Senior Research Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio.
Twenty constituents of the 30-share sensex pack today ended higher while ten counters closed lower.
Major gainers were Tata Steel (4.58 per cent), Hindalco (4.44 per cent), Axis Bank (2.78 per cent), Sesa Sterlite (2.09 per cent),