The select stocks opened on a firm note but could not maintain the momentum in late trade and slipped sharply. Finally, both the Sensex and Nifty ended on an almost flat note. It was a day of strength for capital goods, metal, power, banking and pharmaceutical stocks. BSE midcap and smallcap indices also performed well in line with frontline counters. Heavy profit booking was witnessed in scrips across sectors in late trade, leading to sharp decline from its day' s high. IT and FMCG stocks remained subdued for most part of the day.
The Sensex ended up 19.80 points or 0.11 per cent at 17825.99, while the Nifty index of NSE was down 1.65 points or 0.03 per cent at 5268.40 from its last finish.
BSE clocked a turnover of Rs 5859 crore today compared to a turnover of Rs 4,844.22 crore yesterday. About 1543 shares advanced, 1398 shares declined, and 97 shares were unchanged.
BSE indices showed a mixed trend as CG index rose by 382.31 points and closed firm at 16,506.67 points, followed by HC index by 46.41 to close at 3860.02, OILS&GAS index by 45.16 to 11,259.92 points, PSU index by 32.97 to close at 8471.05 and MID CAP index by 32.70 to 7723.56 points.
But Metal index declined by 159.00 and closed negative at 16,642.01 points, along with IT index by 89.55 to close at 3973.12 points, TECK index by 46.37 to 3338.29 points, Realty index by 36.77 to 9979.72 and BANKEX index by 32.96 to 10,156.52 points.
Key stocks slipped from day's high on nervousness in European market on account of UBS EGM, The key benchmark indices slipped into the red in late trade as IT and banking stocks drifted lower. The market had held firm for a better part of the day on firm Asian markets. However, Reliance Energy declined. Grasim Industries and Infosys were also major losers from the Sensex pack.
Capital goods stocks were in demand and the market overall breadth was positive The next major trigger for the market is the Union Budget 2008-09 and it is expected that the Finance Minister will provide higher allocations to several social initiatives like rural upliftment, employment, education, agricultural growth and public health.
Expectations are that the corporate income tax rate may be cut or the 10 pc surcharge on corporate tax may be abolished. The surcharge is 10 pc on a tax rate of 30 per cent, making the effective corporate tax rate 33 pc. Another possibility is that of a cut in dividend distribution tax from 15 pc to 12.5 pc.
It is also expected that the finance minister would announce some relief packages for troubled export sensitive sectors like textiles, rubber, jewellary, leather and IT services. These sectors have been hit by Rupee"s surge in the past one year.
Among the top gainers from Sensex pack were Mahindra&Mahindra, up by 4.9 pc to Rs 661, Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) also moved up by 4.57 pc to Rs 2,69 and Ranbaxy Laboratories shot up by 3.78 pc to Rs 435. Reliance Industries rose by 0.17 pc at Rs 2,580.
Tata Motors rose by 0.76 pc to Rs 707.45. Tata Motors and Ford reportedly plan to sign a memorandum of understanding, possibly on March 5 for Tata Motors' possible acquisition of Ford's luxury British brands, Jaguar and Land Rover. The complete sale of Jaguar-Land Rover to Tatas will take 6-8 weeks.
Capital goods stocks were in demand. Larsen&Toubro moved up by 3.2 pc to Rs 3,630.95 followed by Bharat Heavy Electricals by 3.78 pc to Rs 2,262.90.
However, IT stocks declined in late trade. Satyam Computer Services was down by 3.5 per cent to Rs 434 followed by Wipro by 1.38 pc to Rs 438, Tata Consultancy Services by 1.99 pc to Rs 880 and Infosys by 2.65 pc to Rs 1,618.
Banking stocks fell in late trade. ICICI Bank eased by 1.08 pc to Rs 1,106, HDFC Bank, down 0.26 pc to Rs 1,451.25 and State Bank of India down 2.45 pc to Rs 2,068.
Among the losers from Sensex pack were ACC, down 2.24 pc to Rs 812.25, Grasim Industries dropped by 5.84 pc to Rs 2,865 and Reliance Energy declined by 3.88 pc to Rs 1,631.35.
Suzlon Energy declined by 3.54 pc to Rs 303.70, brokers added.