The Indian equity markets ended in the red with Sensex closing down 0.4 percent at 18673.34, and the Nifty 0.4 percent at 5669.60, as investors booked profits after last week's rally.
The rupee, however, strengthened as it rose a hefty 93 paise to a four-and-a-half-month high of 53.45 against the dollar on Friday. It's likely to strengthen further this week on expectation of more reform measures coupled with rising foreign capital inflows.
Despite the slew of policy reforms announced by the government last week, rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) today lowered India's GDP growth forecast to 5.5 percent.
However, Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council Chairman C Rangarajan said that the country's growth rate is expected to pick up in the second half of this fiscal and reach 6.7 percent for entire 2012-13.
India may offer a bailout to its cash-strapped power distributors that would help restructure more than $35 billion in debt but do little to reform a sector whose dysfunction has exacerbated the country's growth-sapping energy crisis.
Among the sectoral indices, auto and capital goods were up while oil and gas stocks and FMCG was down.
Stocks in news
Maruti Suzuki is up 3.37 percent after the company said that it is looking to regain lost ground in the small car segment with the launch of a completely new version of its erstwhile best selling model Alto.
United Spirits was up 6 percent after news that Diageo is close to a deal to buy a controlling stake.
Power stocks including GVK Power (6.07 percent), Adani Power (7.89 percent) on reports that the cabinet may bailout the power distributors.
Oberoi Realty and Suzlon Energy were the top gainers today.
Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 20:04 PM