Key share indices ended marginally lower on Thursday, amid weak global cues, following the expiry of March derivative contracts weighed down by software shares and Larsen & Toubro.
The Sensex ended lower by 63 points at 17,059 and the 50-share Nifty shed 16 points to close at 5,179 levels.
The Asian markets ended the day on a weak note, the Hang Sensg slipped 276 points to close at 20,609, Nikkei shed 68 points to end at 10,11 and the Shanghai ended lower by 33 points at 2,252 levels.
The European markets were also trading lower. The CAC was down 34 points at 3,395, DAX declined 82 points to 6,916 and the FTSE was down 53 points to 5,5756 levels.
Back home, Capital Goods, IT, FMCG, Bankex, PSU and Power indices ended the day in the red. While, Healthcare, Consumer Durables, Auto, Metal, Realty and Oil & Gas indices ended higher with marginal gains.
Capital Goods stocks were amongst the worst hit in trades today. The BSE Capital Goods index was the top sectoral loser, down 1.6% or 160 points to shut shop at 9,834 levels. Suzlon Energy was the top loser from this space, down 3% to Rs 26. Siemens, BEML, Larsen & Toubro, Crompton Greaves, Alstom Projects and BHEL also ended lower in trades today.
The IT index lost 1.2% or 70 points to 5,951 levels. Shares of software majors Infosys and TCS ended down over 1.7% each on concerns that profit margins could be impacted after local media reports that the United States had raised the cost of processing H-1B employment visas. Mphasis was also amongst the loser from this spcae.
Among the Sensex stocks, SBI ended down 1% on concerns that net interest margins could be impact after the bank recently announced hike in short-term deposit rates.
Shares of telecom companies faced selling pressure after a business daily reported that the Department of Telecom is likely to impose a combined penalty of Rs 1,000 crore on Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular for violating 3G licence norms. Bharti Airtel ended down 1.6%, Idea Cellular ended down 1.5%.
On the other hand, Jindal Steel, Tata Power, Hero MotoCorp, Wipro, ONGC, Bajaj Auto and Maruti Suzuki were amongst the gainers.
Among the individual stocks, Shares of EIH Associated Hotels declined 3% to Rs 153 on equity dilution worries.
Panacea Biotec advanced 7% to Rs 73 on launch of its new facility in Himachal Pradesh for the production of anti-cancer products.
Alchemist Ltd ended 10% higher on the bourses today on reports that the company had allotted 6.6 lakh shares to its promoters on a preferential basis.
The broader markets outperformed the benchmark indices. The BSE mid-cap index ended higher by 10 points at 6,200 and the small-cap index advanced 45 points to close at 6,497 levels.
The overall breadth was positive as 1,539 stocks advanced while 1,270 stocks declined.
Image: Bombay Stock Exchange bull. Photograph: Ritam Banerjee/Getty Images