The select scrips registered small gains after moving between positive and negative zones. The market recovered from a weak start caused by weak global cues. Reliance Industries edged higher. Auto, banking and IT stocks fell while power and metal stocks ended higher. The market breadth was strong, a leading broker said. European markets, which opened after Indian markets, were subdued in early trade. Asian markets mostly ended lower.
Liquidity may get a boost from huge refunds that investors will get from Reliance Power IPO though it remains to be seen how much money comes to secondary market in the light of immense volatility witnessed on the bourses last month.
The 30-share BSE Sensex ended higher at 18,663.16 points with a modest gain of 2.84 points or 0.02 per cent from its last close. Sensex hit a high of 18,729.83 in morning trade. At the day's high, Sensex gained 69.51 points. It touched a low of 18,509.54 in initial trade. At day's low, it shed 150.78 points.
The broader based CNX S&P Nifty index, also closed firm at 5483.90 points, up by 20.40 points or 0.37 pc from it last close of 5463.50.
BSE clocked a turnover of Rs 5301 crore, compared to Rs 5764.15 crore on the previous day.
The BSE indices like BSE Mid-Cap index was up 66.38 points at 8,071.29, followed by the BSE Small-Cap by 105 points at 10,466.78, BSE Metal by 355.62 points at 16,793.81 points, Oils&Gas index by 122.13 points at 11,415.49 points. PSU index by 153.60 at 8,811.98.
Realty index by 157.77 points at 10,671.23 points.
European markets opened weak. France's CAC 40 was down 0.66 pc to 4,940.85 followed by Germany's DAX by 0.66 pc to 6,954.12 and UK's FTSE 100 by 0.53 pc to 5,994.10.
Asian stocks slipped today after a wave of broker downgrades on Wall Street yesterday sparked fresh worries about the health of the US financial sector. In Asia, key benchmark indices in Hong Kong, China, Japan and Singapore were down by 0.82 per cent to 1.55 per cent. However, South Korea's Seoul Composite index was up 0.38 per cent. US stocks closed lower on Monday on profit taking and analyst downgrades of major financial institutions, including American Express and Wells Fargo. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 108.03 points, or 0.85 per cent at 12,635.16 on Monday. The Standard&Poor's 500 Index lost 14.60 points, or 1.05 pc, at 1,380.82. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 30.51 points, or 1.26 pc, at 2,382.85.
As per available data, FIIs bought shares worth a net Rs 163.74 crore on Monday. Local funds bought shares worth Rs 731.83 crore on that day.
FIIs were net buyers to the tune of Rs 2,012.81 crore in the futures&options segment yesterday. According to data released by the NSE, FIIs were net buyers of index futures to the tune of Rs 1,599.22 crore and bought index options worth Rs 677.95 crore. They were net sellers of stock futures to the tune of Rs 254.74 crore and sold stock options worth Rs 9.61 crore.
Jindal Steel&Power rose smartly by 13.25 pc to Rs 2,586.35 and Hindalco Industries jumped up by 1.93 pc to Rs 181.95. Tata Steel, world's sixth largest steel maker, gained by 1.87 pc to Rs 817.80. Tata Steel has reportedly lost its bid to buy the rights to iron ore reserves in Liberia to the Johannesburg-based Delta Mining Consolidated Company.
Healthcare stocks also were in limelight with Ranbaxy Labotatories up by 3.78 pc to Rs 387.25, followed by Sun Pharmaceuticals by 1.39 pc to Rs 1,123.60, Cipla by 1.81 pc to Rs 202.95 and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories by 3.13 pc to Rs 544.45.
Reliance Industries rose 0.9 pc to Rs 2,616.
India's largest engineering&construction firm by revenue Larsen&Toubro rose 1.28 pc to Rs 3,855.05. NTPC rose 4.03 pc to Rs 223.10.
National Aluminium Company was down by 2.26 pc to Rs 411 and Sterlite Industries eased by 1.37 pc to Rs 836.30.
Auto stocks declined. India's biggest car maker in terms of sales, Maruti Suzuki India declined 2.7 per cent to Rs 872.35.
Maruti Suzuki may reportedly launch a Rs 1.5 lakh car by end of this year or early 2009 to challenge Tata Motors' Nano. According to reports, it will have a Suzuki 660cc engine - as against Nano's 623cc - and wear a tag of around Rs 1.5 lakh on road (excluding insurance). Nano is expected to be Rs 1.25 lakh on road.
Tata Motors declined 1.87 pc to Rs 755.50. The company is reportedly satisfied with the progress of negotiations with US carmaker Ford Motor Company to buy British marquee brands Jaguar and Land Rover. The deal is expected to cost USD 2 billion.
Hero Honda Motors declined 5.01 pc to Rs 731.05, Bajaj Auto fell 2.24 pc to Rs 2,404 and Mahindra&Mahindra slipped 2.24 pc to Rs 680.55.
ICICI Bank crashed by 1.69 pc to Rs 1,189.80. It has reportedly decided to split its home loans business between itself and an unit called ICICI Home Finance Company. The bank will fund home loans of up to Rs 20 lakh, with the unit handling the rest.
HDFC Bank declined 2.14 pc to Rs 1,515.10 and State Bank of India fell 1.9 pc to Rs 2,228.35.
Shares in software services exporters took a beating due to a gloomy economic outlook in the United States. Tata Consultancy Services was down 1.43 pc to Rs 962 followed by Wipro by 1.35 pc to Rs 458, Satyam Computer Services by 0.32 pc to Rs 435.30 and Infosys by 1.6 pc to Rs 1,618.90.
Reliance Communications declined 1.17 pc to Rs 677 despite Ministry of Communications&Information Technology, Government of India, granting approval to Reliance Telecom (RTL), a wholly owed subsidiary of the company, for providing CDMA services in Assam and North East service areas.