MUMBAI, May 11 (PTI): Benchmark indices Sensex and Nifty pared early gains to close marginally lower in highly volatile trade on Thursday dragged by heavy losses in Larsen & Toubro and cautious trading ahead of the release of domestic inflation data.
The 30-share BSE Sensex declined 35.68 points or 0.06 per cent to settle at 61,904.52 after hitting the crucial 62,000 mark in opening deals. During the day, it hit a low of 61,823.07 and a high of 62,168.22.
The NSE Nifty dipped 18.10 points or 0.10 per cent to close at 18,297 with 21 of its components ending in the red while 29 in the green.
Among the Sensex firms, Larsen & Toubro tumbled over 5 per cent after the firm said its Non-Executive Chairman A M Naik has decided to step down from the post.
ITC, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Industries, Infosys, Tata Steel, Tech Mahindra and Tata Consultancy Services were the other laggards.
However, Asian Paints rose the most by 3.22 per cent after it posted a 43.97 per cent growth in consolidated net profit to Rs 1,258.41 crore for the fourth quarter.
Hindustan Unilever, NTPC, IndusInd Bank, UltraTech Cement and Maruti were the gainers.
“The gains in the domestic market were tempered by weak earnings reported by a few heavyweight companies,” Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services said.
“Weak Asian cues dampened the sentiment as local markets remained subdued throughout the trading session before finally edging marginally lower amid selling in metal and capital goods stocks. Investors are probably in a wait-and-watch mode after a sharp spike in recent sessions,” said Shrikant Chouhan, Head of Equity Research (Retail), Kotak Securities Ltd.
In the broader market, the BSE smallcap gauge climbed 0.68 per cent and midcap index gained 0.36 per cent.
Among the indices, capital goods declined by 1.94 per cent and metal fell by 1.25 per cent while industrials (0.92 per cent) and teck (0.19 per cent) also closed lower.
Power jumped 1.34 per cent, utilities climbed 1.02 per cent, consumer discretionary (0.73 per cent), consumer durables (0.72 per cent) and financial services (0.36 per cent) were the major gainers.
On the global front, US inflation eased below 5 per cent, providing reassurance to investors that the Fed’s rate hike measures have been effective in managing inflation levels, Nair said.
Investors are also awaiting the release of domestic inflation on Friday.
In Asia, Seoul, Shanghai and Hong Kong markets ended lower while Tokyo settled in the green.
Markets in Europe were trading in the green. The US market ended mostly in negative territory on Wednesday.
Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) were net buyers on Wednesday as they bought equities worth Rs 1,833.13 crore, according to exchange data.
Meanwhile, global oil benchmark Brent crude jumped 0.93 per cent to USD 77.12 per barrel.