Pharma and banking stocks today made sure the Sensex kept its winning run going for the sixth day even as investors turned wary because of a spike in inflation and subdued Chinese economic data. The Chinese knock-on effect led to Asian and European shares turning lower.
Wholesale inflation set off some caution, which rose to a four-month high of 3.24 per cent in August, compared to 1.88 per cent in July, driven by higher prices of food articles. Official data showed that Chinese industrial output and retail sales all unexpectedly slowed for the second consecutive month.
The 30-share barometer closed at 32,241.93, a minuscule gain of 55.52 points, or 0.17 per cent -- the highest closing since August 7 when it ended at 32,273.67. It moved between 32,328.61 and 32,186.84 in the day's trade. The gauge had risen 524 points in the previous five days.
The broader Nifty closed flat, up 7.30 points -- or 0.07 per cent -- at 10,086.60 in a volatile trade. It shuttled between 10,126.50 and 10,070.35 during the day.
"Despite opening on a robust note, benchmark indices in India gave up most of their gains in late morning trade and continued to hover in a narrow range near the flat line for the rest of the day. Stocks across the globe traded mixed as disappointing economic data out of China and India impacted investor sentiment," said Karthikraj Lakshmanan, Senior Fund
Manager, Equities, BNP Paribas Mutual Fund. The silver lining was persistent capital inflows by domestic institutional and retail investors that kept the sunny side up, traders said.
Sun Pharma took the top spot among Sensex components, up 4.24 per cent at Rs 524.25, followed by Axis Bank (4.20 per cent). Other big movers include Tata Motors, Adani Ports, Cipla and Dr Reddy's, surging up to 3.62 per cent.
Losses in Wipro, Kotak Bank, ONGC, M&M, Bharti Airtel came as overhang, falling by up to 4.10 per cent. The healthcare index was in the thick of action as the it rose 2.11 per cent, followed by power and banking.
Foreign portfolio investors remained in selling mode, offloading shares worth Rs 826.77 crore yesterday, as per provisional numbers. DIIs bought shares worth a net Rs 725.90 crore.
Stocks of state-run oil market companies such as HPCL, BPCL and IOC, which rallied over 5 per cent in early trade, finally settled with gains up to 0.90 per cent after Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan ruled out any intervention to disrupt daily revision in petrol and diesel prices.
Reliance Communications fell 1.15 per cent after equipment maker Ericsson filed petition against the company under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code for recovery of Rs 1,155 crore. Small-cap and mid-cap indices firming up by 0.64 per cent and 0.57 per cent, respectively.