Mumbai: The market moved back and forth many times Thursday, but a timely recovery meant the Sensex closed with minuscule gains as the countdown started for the results day for the just-finished state elections.
Seen as a referendum on the central government's recent decisions, including demonetisation, the election outcome holds clue to how the market will behave in coming days. The final numbers will be out on Saturday while exit poll findings are marked for Thursday.
Investors were restrained as there is a big buzz that the US interest rate is set to move up next week, which if it happens will suck out capital from India and other emerging markets.
The session saw a higher start, but the slip showed up soon after. Because of buying in the last one hour of trade, the flagship Sensex ended up 27.19 points, or 0.09 per cent, at 28,929.13. The gauge had lost 146.25 points.
"A strong majority in the state election result (especially in UP) for the ruling central government will be a good enough factor to extend the market gains because it will be considered as a positive sign on the government's recent economic initiative," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
The 50-issue NSE Nifty was range bound and settled up 2.70 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 8,927.
The overall recovery received support from auto, banking, consumer durables and IT stocks, which recouped their losses to an extent.
Broader markets, however, failed to keep pace, pulling down the BSE mid-cap and small-cap indices.
Maruti Suzuki led from the front, with a gain of 1.67 per cent, followed by SBI. Other gainers that helped the key indices end in the green included Axis Bank, Tata Motors, Asian Paints and Sun Pharma.
Dr Reddy's tanked the most, down 5.01 per cent, to Rs 2,708.60, its 52-week low, after the company received 13 observations from the US health regulator.
Meanwhile, shares worth over Rs 50,000 crore of Reliance Industries today changed hands at BSE, days after the company went for major shareholding rejig among its promoter entities. RIL slipped below the Rs 1,300-mark by falling 0.35 per cent.
The BSE auto index put up a good show, followed by consumer durables, bank, IT and technology.
Other Asian bourses were mixed while European markets were trading in the negative zone in their early session as investors await the outcome of the ECB's latest policy meeting on interest rates and stimulus.
Meanwhile, foreign funds bought shares net Rs 3,573.04 crores yesterday, as per provisional figures.
Updated Date: Mar 09, 2017 17:46 PM