Capital goods, IT and metal stocks faced selling, while FMCG counters attracted good buying. Recently battered banking stocks too attracted buying.
Auto scrips were also in demand after car sales rose 19.66 per cent to 2,29,866 units in March 2012, from 1,92,105 units in the same month last year. Two-wheeler sales also increased 8.27 per cent.
The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-share Sensex moved between 17,274.69 and 17,135.76 before closing at 17,243.84, a small rise of 21.70 points or 0.13 per cent. In the last two sessions, Sensex had lost 375.28 points or 2.13 per cent. The NSE broader 50-issue Nifty also rose by a mere 9.20 points or 0.18 per cent to 5,243.60.
“Markets opened in positive zone despite negative cues from the US markets. However, volatility was high and key indices see-sawed between positive and negative territory for the entire day,” said Shanu Goel Research Analyst Bonanza Portfolio.
While trend in Asia was mixed, key European markets— France, Germany and the UK—were trading in the red in the afternoon.
Analysts said investors adopted cautious approach ahead of the Q4 (January-March) 2011-12 results, starting with IT bellwether Infosys on Friday, and annual monetary policy by the Reserve Bank on Tuesday.
Fresh off-loading by FIIs, which sold shares worth Rs 269.43 crore yesterday as per provisional data with stock exchanges, also weighed on the market.
In the broader market, shares of gas utilities, led by Indraprastha Gas, tanked by up to 34 per cent amid reports that Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board has directed the company to cut gas tariffs in Delhi. Gujarat Gas plunged 15.10 pc, Gujarat State Petronet - 7.50 pc, Petronet LNG - 2.91 pc and GAIL India - 1.82 pc.
Of the Sensex stocks, Tata power rose 3.83 per cent, followed by Tata Motors (2.85 pc), Hul (2.63 pc), SBI (2.37 pc), ITC (2.19 pc), Wipro (1.50 pc), M&M (1.35 pc) and Sun Pharma (1.05 pc).
However, Bhel dropped 2.89 per cent, followed by Gail India (1.82 pc), Infosys (1.63 pc), Ongc (1.42 pc), Sterlite (1.42 pc), Tata Steel (1.37 pc), Jindal steel (1.28 pc) and Coal India (1 pc).
Among the sectoral indices, the BSE-FMCG firmed by 1.99 pc, Auto - 0.85 pc and Bankex - 0.48 pc. However, Capital Goods fell 0.95 pc, IT - 0.94 pc, Metal - 0.90 pc, Teck - 0.72 pc and BSE-Oil & Gas - 0.63 pc.
The total market breadth remained negative as 1,432 stocks ended in the red, while 1,337 finished in the green. The total turnover was relatively high at Rs 2,297.75 crore from Rs 1,851.14 crore yesterday.