Markets consolidated to end flat on Wednesday on profit taking at higher levels after gains over the past two trading sessions. Gains in auto major Mahindra &Mahindra helped offset most of the losses in telecom major Bharti Airtel [ Get Quote ].
The Sensex touched an intra-day high of 17,726 on positive global cues. However, it fell sharply towards the end of the trading session and ended flat at 17,601. Nifty ended unchanged at 5,338.
In Asia, markets ended flat ahead of key economic data. Hang Seng dropped seven points at 20,065. Shanghai Composite was flat at 2,160. Japan's [ Images ] Nikkei, however, added 77 points to 8,881.
Meanwhile, the rupee erased initial gains today and was down 12 paise at 55.14 against the dollar on fresh demand for the American currency from banks and importers.
BSE auto index gained 1% to 9,437.
Select public sector undertakings (PSU) shares rallied more than 10% on back of huge volumes, taking the BSE PSU index up 0.7% at 7,133.
Metal index moved up 0.7% to 10,437, mirroring cues from global metal prices.
Reliance [ Get Quote ] jumped 0.6% to Rs 789, its highest level since March 15, 2012, after the oil ministry agreed to conditionally approve the capital expenditure plan of over $1 billion for KG-D6 gas block.
The stock outperformed the market by gaining 8% in past three trading days on the BSE as compared to 2.8% rise in the benchmark Sensex.
Mahindra and Mahindra rallied 4% at Rs 725 after reporting a better-than-expected 20% year-on-year (yoy) jump in standalone net profit at Rs 726 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2012 on back of higher sales volume.
Analysts on an average expected a net profit of Rs 596 crore for the quarter.
Total operational income grew 39% at Rs 9,367 crore on y-o-y basis. Tata Motors [ Get Quote ] from the same sector added 0.8% at Rs 241.
Metal shares Hindalco [ Get Quote ], Jindal Steel and Sterlite advanced 1-2% each. Among other gainers were Hindustan Unilever, Infosys [ Get Quote ] and NTPC.
However, Bharti Airtel slumped 6.3% to Rs 275. The telecom major reported its 10th straight quarter of profit decline as competition squeezed margins despite gaining subscriber market share from some of its smaller rivals.
IDFC [ Get Quote ] says at first impression Bharti Airtel's headline numbers are weak with domestic volume growth of just 3.9 percent while pricing fell 2.6 per cent, sequentially.
ONGC [ Get Quote ], Gail and TCS [ Get Quote ] were down 1-3% each. ICICI Bank [ Get Quote ] was down 1.6% at Rs 958.
Promoters of EIH Limited, which runs the Oberoi and Trident chain of hotels, are likely to increase their stake in the company to more than 40 per cent.
The stock was down 0.7% at Rs 82.
Coal India [ Images ] has agreed to a hefty penalty of up to 40 per cent if it fails to supply the committed quantity of the fuel to power firms.
CIL was trading flat at Rs 345.
BSE market breadth turned negative in afternoon trades.
Out of 2,966 shares traded, 1,593 shares declined while 1,258 shares advanced.