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Stock Mkts Take A Breather; Sensex Down 56 Pts

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Snapping a record-setting spree, the benchmark Sensex today closed 56 points lower and the Nifty ended flat as investors turned cautious after indices notched up hefty gains over the previous four days on hopes of BJP-led NDA forming the next government at the Centre.
 
Key index heavy-weights like Reliance Industries, HDFC, HDFC Bank and Mahindra and Mahindra saw modest profit-booking.
 
The Sensex had touched an all-time intra-day high of 24,068.94 yesterday enthused by exit poll predictions. The 30-share BSE gauge had soared over 1,547 points in four days on the back of frenzied buying supported by hefty FII inflows.
 
The Sensex resumed higher at 23,897.88 and hovered in a range of 23,964.67 and 23,753.36 before ending at 23,815.12, showing a loss of 56.11 points or 0.24 per cent. Fourteen Sensex components fell while 16 counters rose.
 
"We believe the markets have discounted a comfortable win for NDA to form a stable and industry-pro government. There is limited room on the upside considering current valuations," said Hiren Dhakan, Associate Fund Manager, Bonanza Portfolio.
 
Refinery, Capital Goods, IT and Healthcare sectors declined while Realty, Metal, Consumer Durable and Power sectors firmed up sharply on persistent buying support.
 
Activity was witnessed in shares of state-run banks after an RBI panel report stated that the government should reduce holdings in PSU lenders to below 50 per cent.
 
Traders said the market was in an "over-bought" position and cautious participants preferred to lock some gains.
 
Meanwhile, the NSE 50-share Nifty closed unchanged at 7,108.75 after moving in a range of 7,080.90 and 7,142.25. It had gained 456 points in the previous four days.
 
Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) continued their buying spree by investing net Rs 2,026.23 crore yesterday as per provisional data from the stock exchanges.
 
Elsewhere in Asia today, stocks finished higher as US stocks held at record highs and investors weighed earnings.
 
Key benchmark indices in South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong ended 0.65-1.41 per cent higher while indices in China and Japan fell. 
 
European markets were trading mixed as investors weighed the latest round of inflation data and earning reports. Key indices in France and UK eased by 0.05 per cent to 0.16 per cent while Germany's DAX was quoting higher by 0.01 per cent.
 
Meanwhile, major Sensex losers were Dr Reddy's Lab (3.51 per cent), M&M (2.91 per cent), HDFC (2.01 per cent), HDFC Bank (1.52 per cent), RIL (1.49 per cent), Bhel (1.05 per cent), L&T (1.04 per cent) and ONGC (0.93 per cent).
 
However, Tata Steel shot up by 5.91 per cent, followed by Coal India 3.39 per cent, Bajaj Auto 3.10 per cent, NTPC 2.20 per cent, Sesa Sterlite 2.18 per cent, ITC 1.27 per cent, Cipla 1.13 per cent and Bharti Airtel 1.11 per cent.
 
"We expect indices to extend sideways bias in the next session as well but stock specific activity would continue to keep the traders on their toes. Considering the broader trend, any intraday decline can be considered for initiating fresh longs positions but be watchful on the position sizing," said Jayant Manglik, President-retail distribution, Religare Securities.
 
Among the S&P BSE sectoral indices, Oil&Gas declined 0.78 per cent, Capital Goods 0.36 per cent, IT 0.31 per cent and Healthcare 0.30 per cent while Realty rose by 4.32 per cent, Metal 3.22 per cent, Consumer Durables 2.28 per cent and Power 0.83 per cent.
 
Market breadth remained positive as 1,692 stocks finished with gains, 1,218 stocks ended with losses while 132 ruled steady. The total turnover dropped to Rs 3,547.55 crore from Rs 4,620.58 crore yesterday.


(Reuters)
 


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