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Erasing its initial gains, the benchmark Sensex today once again succumbed to profit-taking and fell by nearly 80 points to end at over one-week low level on selling in consumer durables, banking and metal counters.
After reclaiming the 21,000 mark in opening trades, the bluechip index hit an intra-day high of 21,004.54 but failed to sustain the momentum as investors started booking profits.
Persistent foreign capital inflows as well as confidence given by the Finance Minister P Chidambaram that the country's current account deficit will be contained below USD 60 billion in current financial year helped markets rise in early trade.
However, the Sensex declined afterwards to 20,861.42 before finishing at 20,894.94, showing a loss of 79.85 points or 0.38 per cent from its Tuesday close. This is the lowest close since 20,570.28 on October 28.
On Sunday, the Sensex hit record intra-day high of 21,321.53 and ended at all-time closing high of 21,239.36.
Similarly, the NSE 50-share Nifty dropped by 38.00 points, or 0.61 per cent, to end at 6,215.15. Also, the SX40 index of MCX-SX, closed at 12,416.31, down 77.79 points.
After consumer durables, banking stocks suffered the most led by heavyweight SBI which tumbled by 3.40 per cent following its decision to hike lending rates by 0.20 per cent. Other lenders like ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank also fell.
Other major Sensex constituents that ended in the red today include RIL, HUL, Bharti, Tata Motors and Tata Steel.
However, IT shares like TCS and Infosys firmed up on account of stronger than expected results from Cognizant and a weak rupee that fell below 62-level against the US dollar.
However, mid-cap and small-cap shares fared better as retail investors were seen buying these scrips, traders said.
"All major events like Q2 results and RBI monetary policy are almost over and so there is lack of concrete trigger to fuel the rally further. Hence, we can expect some consolidation..." said Nidhi Saraswat, Senior Research Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio Ltd.
Meanwhile, Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) continued their buying spree by investing net Rs 162.53 crore yesterday as per provisional data from the stock exchanges.
In the global markets, Asian stocks today ended narrowly mixed. Key indices in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea declined by 0.01-0.82 per cent while indices in Japan and Taiwan moved up in 0.24-0.79 per cent range.
Data yesterday showed that