Key Indian equity indices end flat on profit-booking

Indo Asian News Service

Mumbai, March 17 (IANS) Key Indian equity indices which opened higher on Thursday and further surged in line with global cues, particularly after the US Federal Reserve kept its key interest rates unchanged, ended the day's trade on a flat note as investors booked profit.

A benchmark index for Indian equities, the sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 24,852.18 points, closed at 24,677.37 points -- down 5.11 points, or 0.02 percent over the previous day's close at 24,682.48 points.

It touched a high of 24,948.30 points and a low of 24,576.52 points in the day's trade.

The wider Nifty of the National Stock Exchange, however, closed in the green -- 13.80 points or 0.18 percent higher at 7,512.55 points.

"Fed's status quo on interest rate added a positive momentum in the market, but the early gains were capped down by profit"booking," said Vinod Nair, head - fundamental research, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services.

"Even though dovish comments from Federal Open Market Committee managed to push stocks to a three day high at open, profit booking dragged pric"s lower," said Anand James, co-head technical research desk, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services.

The 100-scrip and 200-scrip indices of the BSE were higher by 0.20 percent and 0.24 percent, respectively. The mid-cap index was higher by 0.52 percent and small-cap stocks was down by 0.07 percent.

In Thursday's trade, good buying was observed in oil and gas, basic materials and IT sectors, while selling pressure was seen on healthcare sector.

Sector-wise, the S&P BSE oil and gas index surged by 2.26 percent, basic materials index moved up by 1.28 percent and IT index gained by 0.88 percent, while healthcare index went down by 1.24 percent.

The major Sensex gainers on Thursday were: BHEL, up 4.23 percent at Rs.110.85; GAIL, up 4.04 percent at Rs.353.10; Adani Ports, up 3.09 percent at Rs.235.20 and ONGC, up 2.95 percent at Rs.212.55.

The losers were: Lupin, down 4.23 percent at Rs.1674.50; Cipla, down 1.54 percent at Rs.524.45; HDFC, down 1.44 percent at Rs.1109.70.

Among the Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei was lower by 0.22 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng higher by 1.21 percent and China's Shanghai Composite Index ended higher by 1.22 percent.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 was lower by 0.20 percent, France's CAC 40 was down by 1.80 percent and Germany's DAX Index was lower by 1.97 percent at the closing of the Indian markets.