Mumbai, Feb 28: The Sensex today ended almost flat at 17,824.48 points on the Bombay Stock Exchange, down by a bare 1.51 points, with key stocks fluctuating on alternate bouts of buying and selling on hopes of a 'populist' union Budget for 2008-09.
It was a very quiet day for the markets as not much excitement was witnessed throughout the day despite it being the last day of F &O expiry. The markets traded in the red for most part of the day with marginal losses before pulling back sharply in late trade on account of some short covering and ended flat.
It was a bad day for the banking, realty and energy stocks with broader markets also trading on weak sentiments, throughout the day giving negative breadth to markets. However, phrmaceutical, metal, capital good and auto stocks performed relatively well.
The 30-share BSE Sensex ended nearly flat at 17,824.48. Sensex hit a low of 17,690.16 in mid-session trade. At the day's low, Sensex lost 133.86 points. It touched a high of 17,921.51 in initial trade. The broader CNX S&P Nifty index of NSE, however, was up 19 points or 0.32 per cent at 5,285.10 at the closing session from its last finish.
A mixed trend was seen in BSE indices as Realty index major declined by 146.62 points and ended low at 9833.10 points followed by Oils and GAs index by 95.05 to 11,164.87 points, BANKEX index by 82.61 to 10,073.91 points and MID CAP index by 11.80 to 7711.76 points.
However, a few indicies like METAL index rose by 330 and ended high at 16,972.01. Similarly, HC index were up by 65.73 to 3925.75 points and AUTO index by 56.52 to 4829.86 points.
BSE clocked a turnover of Rs 4,822 crore today compared to a turnover of Rs 5,876.55 crore on the previous day.
The markets have lost some more points and are trading stable. It seems to be in a consolidation phase. Most of the BSE benchmark indices are still in red barring pharmaceutical, metal and auto index. Cues from Europe are not very encouraging as the markets there are trading mixed.
Pharma and metal stocks are holding their gains. Broader markets have also been performing not well, giving a negative breadth to the markets.
Tulsi Extrusion, Reliance Capital, Manjushree, Reliance Industries, and Reliance Natural are some of the most active stocks on scattered bull support by local operators.
Banking stocks were trading weak since morning today. Major losers in the banking space are Union bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, IOB and bank Of Baroda.
A surge in capital inflows, including foreign direct investment, would continue in the medium term although short-term inflows may moderate due to slightly slower growth, the survey said. Any reduction in excess capital flows from the high levels of 2007 may affect the equity markets in the short term but will make the task of monetary management easier, the survey said.
India's largest real estate player by market cap, DLF eased by 2.17 pc to Rs 807. DLF will reportedly invest about $5 billion or Rs 20,000 crore to build and operate more than 25,000 hotel rooms in the next 7-8 years. The New Delhi-based real estate major is also in talks to set up nine super luxury hotels across India, reports said. Indiabulls Real Estate was also down by 0.76 pc to Rs 649 and Unitech came down by 1.15 pc to Rs 378. Reliance Industries declined by 1.83 pc at Rs 2,540.25.
Ambuja Cements came down by 1.38 pc to Rs 121.20 and Reliance Energy slipped by 1.88 pc to Rs 1,600.70.
However, a few stocks looked up on scattered bull support. Auto stocks rallied with Hero Honda Motors up by 4.11 pc to Rs 750 followed by Mahindra&Mahindra by 3.7 pc to Rs 683.05, Bajaj Auto by 3.81 pc to Rs 2,255 and Maruti Suzuki India by 0.47 pc to Rs 836. Tata Motors rose by 0.36 pc to Rs 710.
National Alluminium Company was up 6.8 pc to Rs 477, Sterlite Industries by 3.6 pc to Rs 851, Hindalco Industries by 4.03 pc to Rs 203.85), Steel Authority of India by 3.88 pc to Rs 252.80 and Tata Steel was up by 1.56 pc to Rs 823.70.
Healthcare stocks edged higher. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries increased by 3.97 pc to Rs 1,240. The company has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for torsemide tablets in multiple strengths.
HDFC was up by 3.39 pc to Rs 2,775.35 and Bharat Heavy Electricals gained by 2.68 pc to Rs 2,323.60.
Larsen&Toubro moved up by 0.39 pc to Rs 3,645. It recovered from its lows of Rs 3,600.
NTPC rose by 0.79 pc to Rs 203.95 on reports that it has signed a loan agreement for 68.56 million euros with Nordic Investment Bank to part fund its capital expenditure.