The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex failed to maintain its initial gains and ended largely flat this week as the market reacted sharply to Centre's move to defer decision on natural gas price for three months amid concerns over weak monsoon.
The 30-share index fell for the third consecutive week, slipping six points over last Friday to end at 25,099.92 on selling pressure.
The market traded in a range ahead of the Budget next month amid mounting concerns about below normal monsoon, which is critical for agriculture, equity dealers said.
"Geo-political issues (mainly related to conflict in oil-rich Iraq) also kept the sentiments weak," said Dipen Shah, Head of Private Client Group Research, Kotak Securities.
These issues kept the rupee under pressure over the past few sessions, he added.
The Sensex resumed slightly higher at 25,108.09 and firmed up further to 25,427.80 on short-covering in view of expiry of June contracts coupled with fall in global crude oil prices. Firm Asian cues due to rise in Chinese manufacturing June for the first time this year also boosted the market.
However, the BSE barometer declined afterwards to 24,878.66 before ending the week at 25,099.92 on tail-end selling.
The Sensex has dropped by 296.54 points, or 1.17 per cent, in the last three weeks.
The CNX 50-share Nifty of the National Stock Exchange also moved down by 2.65 points, or 0.04 per cent, to end the week at 7,508.80.
Shares of ONGC and RIL declined by 1.59 per cent and 2.39 per cent respectively after the government deferred a decision to hike natural gas prices.
However, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 237.64 crore during the week, as per SEBI data, including the provisional figure of June 27.
Jignesh Chaudhary, Head-Research, Veracity Broking Services, said, "The equity market witnessed both positive and negative trends in the just-ended trading week. The market opened on a weak note due to conflict in Iraq but firmed up later on hopes of economic recovery and a good budget. FIIs have been very active in the market."
Among the 30 shares in the Sensex, 17 gained while 13 declined.
Other major losers were ITC, which fell by 4.72 pct, Infosys 2.82 pct, Bharti Airtel 2.25 pct, Hindalco 1.65 pct, HDFC Bank 1.18 pct, Coal India 1.11 pct, HUL 1.07 pct, Tata Motors 1.05 pct and ICICI Bank 1.00 pct.
However, Bajaj Auto rose by