The Sensex ended higher by 21 points at 18,694 and the 50-share Nifty advanced 4 points to close at 5,674. The markets traded in a tight range since morning. The Sensex traded in a range of 150 points and the Nifty traded in a range of 50 points.
Meanwhile, the Asian markets ended flat in trades today after sentiment was weakened by data showing Germany's business confidence dropped in September, and a weak earnings forecast from Caterpillar Inc , both of which underscored worries about a global growth slowdown.
Hang Seng ended higher by 4 points at 20,698, Shanghai Composite index slipped 4 points to close at 2,029, Nikkei jumped 22 points to end at 9,091 and the Seoul Composite 12 points to 1,991.
The European markets were trading on a weak note. CAC40 and DAX were down 0.4 per cent each. While, DAX was trading marginally higher at 5,843.
Defensive shares witnessed buying at lower levels after profit booking was seen in the recent rally as the reforms announced favoured high-beta and cyclical stocks. In the FMCG segment ITC and HUL ended up over 1.7 per cent each. In the pharma segment Cipla gained 1.9 per cent.
Back home, BHEL was the top gainer among the Sensex stocks. It advanced 2.6 per cent to Rs 254. Cipla, HDFC, Reliance Industries, TCS and HDFC Bank also ended higher by 0.3-2 per cent each.
On the other hand, Jindal Steel was the top loser on the Sensex. The stock plunged 4.5 per cent to Rs 425 on reports that the company has raised a bridge loan of Rs 660 crore (Rs 6.6 billion) to fund its CIC Energy acquisition.
The company raised Rs 550 crore from Deutsche Bank and Rs 110 crore (Rs 1.1 billion) from First Rand Bank of South Africa for one year term. Bridge loans are short term financing which the companies go for to fund any immediate need of money. These loans are then replaced by longer term borrowings.
Sterlite Industries, Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, ONGC, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto, NTPC, Wipro, Dr Reddy's Labs, Bharti Airtel, Infosys and ICICI Bank were also among the laggards down 0.3-2.5
Metal shares witnessed profit taking after commodity prices eased on the London Metal Exchange. Auto shares eased on concerns that the recent hike in transport fuels may dent sales growth in September. Meanwhile, Maruti Suzuki said it will raise prices within a week to offset impact of adverse foreign exchange fluctuation and rising input costs.
On the sectoral front, the BSE realty index was the top gainer. The index jumped 2.35 per cent or 42 points to close at 1,845. FMCG, consumer durables, healthcare, power, IT, capital goods and bankex indices also advanced 0.1-2 per cent each.
Among the individual stocks, SKS Microfinance was locked in 5 per cent upper circuit at Rs 122.40 on the Bombay Stock Exchange following a large block deal on the exchange.
Shares of Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers were up over 6 per cent on talks that the UB Group may sell stake its non-core assets to reduce the debt of its group company Kingfisher Airlines.
Cairn India slipped 3.2 per cent to Rs 335 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on block deal. According to reports, Cairn Energy had planned to sell an 8 per cent stake in India-focused oil explorer, Cairn India, in a deal that could raise up to $940 million.
Shares of power companies such as Adani Power, JSW Energy, Lanco Infra, BHEL, Torrent Power, Reliance Power, NHPC and GMR Infra ended higher by 1-6 per cent each after the central government announced a debt restructuring package for distribution companies. The package comes a decade after the Union government extended a similar one-time settlement of state electricity boards' dues.
The broader markets also ended flat. The BSE mid-cap index advanced 30 points or 0.4 per cent to close at 6,483 and the small-cap index jumped 0.5 per cent or 36 points to close at 6,903.
The overall breadth was neutral as 1,549 stocks advanced while 1,328 declined.