The markets pared early gains to end on a flat note on the last day of the week. The Sensex brushed off cues from global peers as investors took to booking profits.
The BSE benchmark traded on a steady manner this afternoon and touched a high of 18,736 -- recovering over 1,000 points from this year's low, as the upmove triggered by Monday's Budget showed no signs of hitting a roadblock.
However, the index gave up its gains in late-noon trades and ended flat at 18,736 -- down 3 points.
The Nifty closed at 5,539 - up 3 points.
"Our markets had corrected in the last few weeks.
The market is struggling to cross the 200 Daily Moving Average. Major buying will be only seen after 200 DMA is crossed. Auto, infrastructure, metal provide good investment opportunities.
Also, small companies where price to earnings is below 5x in domestic consumption space look good in such a market," said Kishor Ostwal , CMD, CNI Research.
BSE mid and small cap indices underperfomed. The indices dropped marginally into red and ended at 6,596 and 8,002, respectively.
Bullishness was noticed across the global markets (US overnight, Asia and Europe in today's session) with hopes of a fillip to financial sector reforms.
The Dow jumped nearly 200 points overnight, scoring its best one-day rally in three months, due to a pullback in oil prices and upbeat US labour market data.
And the cheer rubbed on worldwide, with the benchmark indices across Asia trading higher by upto 2% each and the European markets also looking good across the board. The union cabinet's clearance of the the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2011 on Thursday seem to have bolstered the sentiment back home.
Investors also heaved a sigh of relief as oil retreated from 2-1/2 year highs on profit taking after Venezuela pitched a plan to resolve the Libyan crisis.
Rate sensitives outperformed the benchmark. BSE bankex jumpes 0.6% to 12,461.
Auto stocks extended recent gains on the back of higher sales in February and the government's move to keep the excise duties on automobiles unchanged in the Budget, contrary to market expectations of a 2% hike. BSE auto index jumped 0.5% to 8,922.
Gainers in the space included Hero Honda, Bajaj Auto and Mahindra & Mahindra.
Larsen & Toubro shed 3% at Rs 1,610. Jaiprakash Associates slipped 2% to Rs 84.
Maruti Suzuki and BHEL slipped 2% to Rs 1,302 and Rs 2,085, respectively. TCS and Bharti Airtel dropped 1% in trades today.
Other stocks in the losing side included metal names like Tata Steel and Sterlite, FMCG stocks like HUL and ITC as well as heavyweight ICICI Bank.
However, Tata Power held on to gains and ended up 2.2% at Rs 1,219. HDFC, Reliance Infra, Jindal Steel, Infosys and HDFC Bank were up 1% each.