Mumbai, Mar 7: In a topsy-turvy trade, the BSE Sensex closed nearly 28 points lower as investors remained concerned over the government's ability to push through “struggling” reforms in the upcoming Budget.
Extending losses for the third session in a row, the 30-share index closed down by 27.77 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 17,145.52 points. It moved between 17,239.35 points and 17,008.77 points during the day.
The broad-based NSE 50-issue Nifty ended a bit lower by 1.95 points or 0.04 per cent at 5,220.45.
“Markets are indecisive post state poll results and now looking at monetary policy and union Budget,” Ashika Stock Brokers Research Head Paras Bothra said.
The index had dived 190 points yesterday after investors hopes of a boost to economic reforms were dashed by poor performance of Congress, which heads the UPA government at the Centre, in state Assembly elections.
Some analysts, however, said markets had already factored in “struggling reforms agenda” and attributed today's huge volatility to weak global cues.
Losses in market major Reliance Industries, which fell by by 1.94 per cent to Rs 761.35 and telecom giant Bharti mainly pulled down the Sensex. Bharti closed down Bharti Airtel by 1.91 per cent to Rs 329.55.
Brokers also attributed both way trading to profit booking as well as short coverings ahead of a holiday tomorrow Markets are closed tomorrow due to the ‘Holi' festival.
Metal and refinery counters continued to bore the brunt of selling for the third straight day while some of the realty, IT and banking stocks attracted buying interest.
Selling in Sterlite, TCS, NTPC and ONGC also weighed negatively on the market while smart rise in Infosys Tech, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and Wipro aided the Sensex to minimise its decline.
The 30-share gauge resumed lower and and later fell to a low of 17,008.77 on weak Asian markets following fears of Greek default.
However, European markets edged higher in choppy trade with gains in banking and mining sectors, which helped the Sensex also pare sopme losses. In straight three-day of fall, it has dipped by 491.47 points or 2,79 per cent.
Poor state election results for the Congress now is the main difficulty to re-launch reforms and boost the sagging growth, and investors await the General Budget to be unveiled on March 16, analysts said.
FIIs turned net sellers and they pulled out Rs 241.22 crore yesterday as per provisional data from stock exchanges.
Out of the 30-share Sensex pack 17 scrips ended in red while 13 scrips finished in green.
Other losers from the pack were Sterlite Ind (3.95 per cent), NTPC (2.41 per cent), BHEL (1.85 per cent), Jindal Steel (1.78 per cent), Maruti Suzuki (1.48 per cent), Coal India (1.01 per cent), ONGC (1.01 per cent) and M&M (0.98 per cent).
However, Wipro firmed up by 1.97 per cent followed by HDFC Bank 1.52 per cent, Bajaj Auto 1.13 per cent, DLF 1.09 per cent, Infosys Tech (1.07 per cent) and ICICI Bank (0.93 per cent).
Among the sectoral indices the BSE-Metal fell by 1.51 per cent followed by the BSE-Oil&Gas dropped by 1.51 per cent while the BSE-Realty moved up by 0.90 per cent followed by the BSE-IT 0.78 per cent and the Bankex by 0.69 per cent.
The total market breadth continued to show its downward march as 1,690 stocks finished with losses while 1,141 stocks ended with gains. The total turnover declined to Rs 2,664.20 crore from Rs 3,037.53 crore yesterday.