Sensex closes flat; bank stocks plunge

Mumbai, Oct 10 (IANS) A benchmark index of Indian equities markets Thursday closed flat - a mere 23 points higher - due to lackluster trade, that came after a sharp rally in the previous session and ahead of quarterly numbers' announcements by blue-chip firms.

The 30-scrip S&P Sensex of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 20,228.76 points, closed at 20,272.91 points, up 23.65 points or 0.12 percent from Wednesday's close at 20,249.26 points.

The Sensex saw a high of 20,323.77 points and a low of 20,135.91 points in the day's trade.

The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) also made marginal gains. The index increased by 13.50 points or 0.22 percent at 6,020.95 points.

Investors remained cautious ahead of the announcement of quarterly numbers by major firms.

Infosys is scheduled to announce its financial results for the July-September quarter Friday, while Reliance Industries will declare its results Monday.

Sector-wise, automobile, metal, information technology (IT), healthcare and public sector undertakings (PSU) made gains. However, banks, oil and gas and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) stocks declined.

The S&P BSE automobile index gained 223.95 points, metal index was up 43.02 points, followed by IT index which was up 36.25 points, healthcare index was up 35.83 points and the PSU index was higher by 18.50 points.

Heavy selling pressure was observed in bank index, which was down 45.46 points, oil and gas index was lower by 7.75 points and FMCG index declined by 0.71 points.

The prominent Sensex gainers were: Tata Motors, up five percent at Rs.371.75; Mahindra and Mahindra, up 1.83 percent at Rs.867.15; NTPC, up 1.72 percent at Rs.147.60; Tata Steel, up 1.68 percent at Rs.308; and Maruti Suzuki, up 1.64 percent at Rs.1,421.30.

The losers were: Tata Power, down 2.21 percent at Rs.83.95; Hindalco Inds, down 2.21 percent at Rs.117; Bajaj Auto, down 1.46 percent at Rs.2,121; Hindustan Unilever, down 1.25 percent at Rs.602.70; and HDFC Bank, down 1.19 percent at Rs.641.60.

Among the Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei closed 1.12 percent up; Hong Kong's Hang Seng was lower by 0.36 percent and China's Shanghai Composite Index was down by 0.94 percent.

In Europe, London's FTSE 100 was trading 1.16 percent up, while Germany's DAX Index was higher by 1.40 percent. The French CAC 40 was up by 1.64 percent.

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