Sensex closes flat; bank, oil and gas stocks fall

Mumbai, Jan 11 (IANS) A benchmark index for Indian equities markets closed flat Friday ahead of inflation data next week. Banks, oil and gas and metal stocks faced the brunt of selling pressure in cautious trading.

Market sentiment was affected after government data showed a 0.1 percent contraction in the country's industrial output in November, though an unexpected third quarter results of Infosys saw a surge in IT stocks.

The index pared the initial gains once the factory output figures were out.

The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 19,813.64 points, closed at 19,663.64 points -- up 0.09 points or 0.00 percent from its previous close at 19,663.55 points.

The BSE Sensex touched an intra-day high of 19,839.80 points and a low of 19,619.83 points.

The BSE midcap index was down 108.53 points, while the smallcap index was lower by 119.75 points.

The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) was also trading flat -- down 17.35 points or 0.29 percent at 5,951.30.

Among the Sensex sectoral indices, the bank index was down 201.06 points, followed by oil and gas index which fell by 148.81 points and the metal index that went down 145.59 points.

In terms of gainers, the IT index rose 534.04 points, while the technology, media and entertainment (TECk) index and the consumer durables index were up 228.75 and 16.23 points respectively.

The major Sensex gainers were Infosys, up 16.90 percent at Rs.2,712.60; Wipro, up 6.10 percent at Rs.419.50; Tata Consultation Services (TCS), up 3.80 percent at Rs.1,306.35, and Sterlite Inds, up 1.17 percent at Rs.117.00.

Twenty-six of the 30 Sensex scrips closed in red.

Among the main losers were Jindal Steel, down 3.35 percent at Rs.432.10; Hindustan Unilever, down 3.51 percent at Rs.498.50; ONGC, down 3.28 percent at Rs.292.00; Mahindra and Mahindra, down 2.83 percent at Rs.933.05; and ITC, down 2.63 percent at Rs.273.50.

Among other Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei index was up 1.40 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng ended 0.39 percent higher. The Shanghai Composite Index declined 1.78 percent.

In Europe, Britain's FTSE 100 was up 0.12 percent and the German DAX was trading 0.13 percent higher. The French CAC 40 was down 0.26 percent.

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