It was a lacklustre session with flat trades as the norm on the first day of 2014. Key benchmark indices ended flat as volumes remained dull in frontline stocks, a day after world bid good riddance to another year of weak macros and high hopes.
Official data released late Tuesday showed that core eight infrastructure industries witnessed a growth of just 1.7 per cent in November. Core sector industries showed that industrial growth may also not rise drastically in November since these sectors constitute 39 per cent of the Index of Industrial Production.
The 30-share Bombay Stock Exchange Sensex closed 30 points lower at 21,140 levels and the 50-component Nifty index of the National Stock Exchange closed 2 point loser at 6,302 levels. Action was largely limited to broader markets as investors scouted for value in small-cap stocks feeling uncomfortable with valuations in frontliners which ran up after rallies. BSE Small-cap index closed 1.5 per cent higher while mid-cap index added 0.4 per cent on Wednesday.
The Indian rupee continued to remain weak due to dollar buying from oil importers. The rupee was last seen quoting at Rs 61.90 compared with previous close of Rs 61.80 per dollar. Currency dealers believe the weakness will be limited as the RBI may step in if the rupee falls below 62.
Asian markets were closed for trading on New Year's Day. Meanwhile, factory growth in China remained subdued in December 2013. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the Purchasing Managers' Index dipped to 51.0 in December 2013 compared with a reading of 51.4 in the previous month.
The BSE Realty index, closing almost 3 per cent higher from its previous close, remained the top gainer among the sectoral indices on the BSE followed by Consumer Durables which added 0.9 per cent. However, IT, Oil & gas and TECk indices were the laggards today, closing down between 0.3-0.6 per cent. Godrej Properties, Indiabulls Real Estate, Housing Development and Infrastructure, DB Realty and Sobha Developers closed 2-8 per cent higher, while DLF, Anant Raj, Unitech and Prestige Estates ended 2-3 per cent higher each.
Bharti Airtel was the top Sensex gainer up almost 2.1 per cent at Rs 337.60 while NTPC and Sun Pharma up 0.8 per cent, Coal India, Hero Motocorp - up between 0.5-0.6 per cent were the other top Sensex gainers. IT shares witnessed profit taking after recent gains. TCS, Infosys and Wipro were down 0.2-0.9 per cent. Market breadth was positive with 1,600 gainers and 897 losers on the BSE.
Ashoka Buildcon shot up almost 16 per cent to Rs 70.25 after the company said it has received Letters of Acceptance for the contracts aggregating Rs 596 crore (Rs 5.96 billion). Finolex Industries closed 3.7 per cent higher at Rs 173.90, after hitting its record high on the BSE as the promoter of the company are increasing its stake via creeping acquisition method.
Elder Pharmaceuticals shot up 11.3 per cent to Rs 256.30 on back of heavy volumes on the bourses. The stock opened at Rs 234 and hit a low of Rs 229 on the BSE. Lakshmi Vilas Bank has rallied 4.4 per cent to Rs 73.35 after the private lender said it is planning to raise funds via rights issue to meet its funding requirements for branch expansion and growth capital.