The BSE benchmark Sensex today closed about 14 points lower as gains in realty, pharma, banking shares were overshadowed by losses in consumer durables, IT, and oil&gas counters amid investors adopting caution ahead of a slew of economic data later this week.
The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share barometer was choppy for most of the session, trading in a narrow range of over 115 points. It finally concluded at 19,409.69 – a loss of 14.41 points or 0.07 per cent. However, the NSE 50-issue S&P CNX Nifty inched up by 1.50 points to end at 5,908.90.
"This week will involve some heavy number crunching as different data sets hit the headlines. IIP and CPI data on December 12, WPI data on December 14 and import export data on December 15 are some of the key figures to be closely tracked by investors," said Amar Ambani, Head of Research, IIFL.
With the FDI in retail out of the way, activity in the Banking Bill, FCRA Bill, pension front are most likely to boost sentiments now, said brokers.
Fall in the heavyweights, including TCS, RIL, ICICI Bank, Bharti Airtel, L&T and Infosys, mainly weighed on the Sensex while HDFC, which was the top gainer in the pack with a rise of 3.15 per cent, cushioned the index's fall to some extent.
Banking stocks saw some activity on hopes the legislation on sectoral reforms would be passed during the current session of Parliament, said traders.
Although Asian markets closed better, European markets fell 0.4-0.8 per cent in afternoon deals over reports of a leadership change in Italy.
Asian stocks ended higher as investors picked up on some signs of improvement in the world's top two economies – the US and China. Benchmark indices in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan rose in 0.23-1.07 per cent range, while Taiwan eased by 0.43 per cent and South Korea ended almost flat.
However, Europe was trading with moderate losses as France's CAC was quoting 0.77 per cent down, Germany's DAX by 0.73 per cent and the UK's FTSE by 0.35 per cent. Reports sstated Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said he has lost support and will resign.
Commenting on Indian markets, Kishor P Ostwal, CMD, CNI Research said: "Market was almost flat waiting for consolidation. Big action was seen in private banking segment where HDFC, Lakshmi Vilas Bank, Dhanlakshmi Bank and Kotak Bank notched up