In tepid trade, the benchmark BSE Sensex today fell over 16 points on profit-booking in realty, capital goods, banking and auto shares, amid a weak trend in Asian markets, but Infosys Ltd share price retained buoyancy ahead of its quarterly results.
The BSE Sensex, which yesterday snapped a five-day losing run to mark its first positive close in 2014, ended with a loss of 16.01 points, or 0.08 per cent, at 20,713.37. Trading in a narrow 125-point zone, the index rose to a high of 20,778.13 and a low of 20,652.69 during the session.
Gains in Oil & Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Sesa Sterlite marginally outweighed losses in Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Axis Bank as twelve stocks in the 30-share Sensex advanced while 18 counters declined.
Shares of Infosys gained 0.66 per cent on selective buying ahead of quarterly earnings tomorrow.
Another bluechip, Reliance Industries (RIL) ended the day in positive zone after it added the first production well on the eastern offshore fields in four years.
Similarly, the 50-share NSE Nifty fell 6.25 points, or 0.10 per cent, to 6,168.35. Also, SX40 index of MCX Stock Exchange slipped 8.59 points lower to end at 12,366.83.
All major Asian indices, including Nikkei, Hang Seng and KOSPI, closed in the red. However, European benchmarks were trading in the green in afternoon trade.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi today convenes the first rate-setting meeting of 2014 in Frankfurt.
Additionally, a US initial jobless claims report is expected to guide global markets.
Back in the domestic markets, shares of gold financing firms Muthoot Finance Ltd and Manappuram Finance surged up to 20 per cent after the RBI allowed NBFCs to lend up to 75 per cent of the value of metal from 60 per cent at present.
Sectorally, the BSE Realty sector index fell the most by 2.31 per cent. Capital Goods index dropped by 2.03 per cent as Larsen and Toubro fell 2.68 per cent and Punj Lloyd slid 2.39 per cent. The Banking index fell by 0.74 per cent after SBI, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank declined.
* BSE index falls 0.08 pct; NSE ends 0.1 pct lower
* Gold-based lenders surge