The markets closed in the red and could not sustain at the higher levels. Asian markets, which opened before Indian markets, were mostly in the green. But European markets, which opened after the Indian markets, were in the red, partially affecting the downward trend in the Indian bourses, brokers said.
The market oscillated between positive and negative territories due to lack of strong participation from investors ahead of industrial production and inflation data tomorrow. Key indices, which had soared in the mid-afternoon trade, fell sharply in the last hour of trade. There was a sharp decline in banking stocks. Oil and gas stocks were the star performers of the session. IT stocks slipped due to profit booking after an early surge. Mid-caps and small-caps outperformed the frontliners.
The 30-share BSE Sensex fell 95.41 points or 0.60 per cent at 15,695.10 at the end of the session from it last last finish. The Sensex gained 258.44 points at the day's high of 15953.54 achieved in the mid-afternoon trade. The index lost 135.31 points to touch the session's low of 15655.20 during the fag end of the trading.
The CNX S&P Nifty index of National Stock Exchange (NSE) also eased by 14.05 points or 0.30 per cent at 4733 points as compared to its last close of 4747.05 points.
The BSE indices also drifted lower on profit booking by FIIs.
The BSE Bankex index crashed by 240.66 points and ended low at 7951.60 points. The realty index fell by 76.36 points at 7216.40 points, HC index dropped by 41.31 points at 3922.56 while Teck index fell 38.98 points at 3032.29 points. The IT index fell by 28.46 points at 3676.63 and auto index by 14.53 points at 4403.12 points.
A few BSE indices looked up and oil and gas rose sharply by 155.71 points and closed high at 10726.74 points. SML cap also gained 89.95 points to close at 8031.06 and metal index moved up by 75.99 points to close at 13854.95.
On the BSE, 1713 stocks gained, 949 declined and 67 stocks remained unchanged. The BSE clocked a turnover of Rs 5496 crore as against Rs 5331.37 crore yesterday.
The bank, FMCG and realty stocks witnessed selling pressure.
Top gainers on the bourses were Reliance Energy, TCS, Reliance Industries, Cairn India and Reliance Petroleum. The losers were Bharti Airtel, Ranbaxy, HDFC Bank and Suzlon Energy.
Reliance group stocks traded with strong buying support and were the most active counters on the bourses.
On the global front, Asian market ended mixed and Europen markets traded lower.
The BSE oil and gas index surged over 3.3 per cent and capital goods index by over 2 per cent. Power, IT and metal indices rose more than 1.5 per cent. India's second largest power utility by revenue Reliance Energy surged 6.30 per cent at Rs 1252 after the company said last Wednesday that it had bought back 176,871 equity shares of the company. Since the commencement of the buy-back on March 25, the company has so far bought back 20,38,551 equity shares aggregating Rs 250.75 crore. Earlier, Reliance Energy's board had approved the buyback of shares worth about Rs 800 crore in the first phase.
India's largest private sector firm by market capitalization and oil refiner Reliance Industries (RIL) rose 1.94 per cent at Rs 2465.
India's largest private sector bank by assets ICICI Bank slipped 4.36 per cent at Rs 801.50. India's largest engineering and construction firm by revenue Larsen&Toubro increased by 1.08 per cent at Rs 2665.70. TCS was up 2.86 per cent at Rs 901.70 followed by Ambuja Cements up 1.50 per cent at Rs 122, Mahindra&Mahindra up 1.13 per cent at Rs 614.75, Tata Steel up 1.03 per cent at Rs 685.90, Hindalco Industries up 0.64 per cent at Rs 173.75 and Maruti Suzuki up 0.35 per cent at Rs 736.
Ranbaxy Laboratories fell 4.33 per cent at Rs 450.05, followed by HDFC Bank by 3.64 per cent at Rs 1326, Jaiprakash Associates by 3.19 per cent at Rs 212.55, Bharti Airtel by 2.95 per cent at Rs 795.80 and Reliance Communication by 2.69 per cent at Rs 483.
Software firm Financial Technologies was down 0.89 per cent at Rs 1,690 despite the company announcing the acquisition of South African technology company ICX Platform for USD 1.50 million.
Auto ancillary firm Banco Products India jumped over 17.25 per cent to Rs 36.70 after it said its board would meet on April 17 to consider buyback of shares.
Private sector lender Development Credit Bank tripped 2.86 per cent to Rs 88.45 after the management denied reports of a merger with a large bank for business expansion. The scrip had jumped over 10 per cent to Rs 100.45 earlier in the day.
Mukesh Ambani-run oil refining firm Reliance Petroleum was up 3.17 per cent at Rs 175.50 after reports hinted at the possibility of an early start of the company's oil refinery.
Offshore transportation services provider Global Vectra Helicorp soared by 20 per cent at Rs 85.95 after the company said it plans a rights issue in December 2008 to fund the expansion plans, including an investment of USD 65 million to raise fleet size by March 29, next year, brokers added.