The markets ended today's rangebound session marginally higher. The Sensex advanced 61 points to close at 18,824 and the 50-share Nifty jumped 15 points to close at 5,719 levels.
The markets were stuck in a tight range in trades today. The Sensex traded in a range of 85 points and the Nifty traded in a range of 25 points.
Meanwhile, the Asian markets fell on Monday as uncertainty about Spain's bailout and concerns over a slowdown in demand in Japan and China weighed down the investor sentiment. The Nikkei slipped 74 points to close at 8,796, Seoul Composite ended weaker by 6 points at 3,054, Taiwan Weighted ended weaker by 39 points at 7,675 levels.
In Europe the markets were trading on a positive note. FTSE, DAX and CAC40 indices were up 1-1.3% each.
Back home, manufacturing activity growth in September held steady compared with August, supported by a pick up in export orders and output, a business survey showed on Monday, but an increase in inventories could hurt growth in the future.
Exports in the month of August declined by 9.7% to $22 billion. Hit by a sluggish demand in the European market, India's merchandise exports fell for the fourth month in a row, according to the foreign trade data released today.
Compared with $24.73 billion in the corresponding period last year, exports fell nearly 10% to $22.33 billion in August. In July, the fall was 14.8%.
In rupee terms, however, data showed a growth of nearly 11% due to depreciation over last year. Imports continued to contract for fourth consecutive month in August to $37.95 billion from $39.98 a year ago, showing drop of about 5%.
Among the Sensex stocks, Infosys [ Get Quote ] was the top gainer. The stocks advanced 3% to Rs 2610. Tata Motors [ Get Quote ], Jindal Steel, BHEL, Hindalco [ Get Quote ], SBI [ Get Quote ], Sterlite Industries, NTPC, Wipro [ Get Quote ], ITC, TCS [ Get Quote ] and Larsen and Toubro also advanced 0.5-2.3% each.
On the other hand, Bajaj Auto [ Get Quote ] was the top Sensex loser. Tata Power [ Get Quote ], HDFC Bank [ Get Quote ], ONGC [ Get Quote ], HDFC, Tata Steel [ Get Quote ], HUL, ICICI Bank [ Get Quote ], index heavyweight Reliance Industries [ Get Quote ], Coal India, Dr Reddy's Labs and Mahindra & Mahindra were also among the losers.
The BSE IT index was the top sectoral gainer. The index has 1.8% or 111 points to 6,034. Teck, capital goods, auto, power, healthcare, FMCG, metal, consumer durables and PSU indices also advanced 0.3-1.5% each. At the same time, oil & gas and bankex indices are ended on a weak note.
Shares of cement companies are continuing their upward march ahead of monthly dispatch figures for the month of September. Meanwhile, the brokerages have also upgraded earning estimates for the financial year 2013 (FY13)
Ambuja Cements, Shree Cement, India Cements [ Get Quote ], ACC, UltraTech Cement [ Get Quote ], Madras Cement and Mangalam Cement [ Get Quote ] are trading higher by 1-6% on the Bombay Stock Exchange. Most of these companies will declare their September month dispatch figures today.
PVR Limited soared 17% to Rs 227 on back of over ten-fold jump in trading volumes after the company allotted around three million shares to L Capital Eco Limited, an international private equity (PE) fund on preferential basis.
Shares of Tech Mahindra [ Get Quote ] and Mahindra Satyam [ Get Quote ] (formerly Satyam Computer Services) rallied 3% each, and are trading at their respective 52-week highs, after the Bombay High Court approved the amalgamation of the four companies along with Satyam Computer Services Limited with Tech Mahindra.
Apollo Hospitals [ Get Quote ] Enterprises soared 7% to Rs 780, also its record high on reports that global private equity firm Apax Partners LLP is looking to sell its 10% stake in the company at premium to the current market price.
ARSS Infrastructure Projects rallied 10% to Rs 65.70 on back of heavy volumes on the counter.
The stock opened at Rs 60 and has seen a combined 4.23 million shares changing hands on the counter till early noon deals against an average sub 2.5 million shares that were traded daily in past two weeks.
The broader markets outperformed the benchmark indices. The BSE mid-cap and small-cap indices jumped 1 and 1.4% each respectively compared to 0.3% rise in the Sensex.
The overall breadth was positive as 1,805 stocks advanced while 1,104 declined.