Stocks consolidated further today as absence of any big trigger forced investors' hand to stay cautious, with both Sensex and Nifty closing on a flat note with a positive leaning.
Unabated FII selling due to premium valuation, lacklustre earnings season and geopolitical headwinds remained the sticking points for the market. Worries on the North Korea front persisted, too. However, the good part was inflows by domestic institutional investors (DIIs) and strength in the rupee, which offset the downside.
The week registered the first fall in four for both the benchmarks.
The session was marked by strong fluctuations. The 30-share index, after opening on a firm footing, faltered and closed with a meagre gain of 24.78 points -- 0.08 per cent -- at 31,687.52. It had edged up 0.77 point yesterday.
Similarly, the NSE Nifty resumed higher, but surrendered gains before ending at 9,934.80, up 4.90 points, or 0.05 per cent. It moved between 9,963.60 and 9,913.30.
The Sensex recorded its first weekly drop in four, losing 204.71 points, or 0.64 per cent, while the Nifty lost 39.60 points, or 0.39 per cent.
"Lack of clarity on the impact of GST on the medium term corporate earnings is adding to cautiousness... For the week ahead, the market would keenly watch for any development in global markets. The key data points to be watchful are IIP, CPI and WPI," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
DIIs net purchased shares worth Rs 245.32 crore, but foreign funds remained net sellers, dumping equities worth Rs 564 crore yesterday, according to provisional figures.
On its part, the European Central Bank (ECB) has held interest rates steady and said its net asset purchases of 60 billion euro a month would continue.
In the Sensex box, engineering giant L&T was a runaway winner, jumping 4.07 per cent to Rs 1,172.30 on strong buying, driven by its strong fundamentals. Bharti Airtel rose 1.65 per cent to Rs 404.
Kotak Bank, HDFC Bank, ITC, Maruti Suzuki, TCS, Wipro and Asian Paints climbed by up to 1.22 per cent. Metal and mining stocks continued to remain on the buying list, largely on the back of rising commodity prices globally.
Vedanta Ltd surged 0.92 per cent. Tata Metaliks soared to an all-time high of Rs 819.50 during the day. Broader markets such as mid and small cap indices ended lower as investors took profit.
Biocon rallied 2.16 per cent after the company said its Malaysian arm Biocon Sdn Bhd received EU GMP compliance certificate for its insulin manufacturing facility.
The BSE capital goods hit the top, surging 1.88 per cent, followed by FMCG and banking. Asian shares traded mixed. Europe turned lower in early session.