Photographs: Reuters Jinsy Mathew in Mumbai
Ignoring weak global cues, Indian markets staged a smart recovery from day lows, in late trades, to close the week in green. The closing hour gains were led by index heavyweights and short covering in financial shares.
For the day, the Sensex closed at 21,810, up 35 points or 0.2% and the Nifty gained 11 points or 0.2% to close above the psychological 6,500 levels at 6,504.
Earlier in the day, markets started in the red and slipped to touch a low of 21,573 in noon deals as investors evaded riskier assets amid rising concerns in Ukraine and growth worries in China.
However, short covering in private bank in the last hour of trade led the benchmark indices into the positive territory and hitting an intra-day high of 21,853.
Broader markets were weak with the mid and smallcap indices losing 0.2-0.3%, both underperforming the BSE benchmark index which was up 0.2%.
Meanwhile, there was some positive on the macro front as the wholesale price-based inflation eased to a nine-month low in February as food and fuel prices moderated, raising expectations that the RBI would leave interest rates unchanged at its policy review next month.
The wholesale price index (WPI), long regarded as India's main inflation measure, rose 4.68% last month, data showed on Friday, compared with a 4.99% jump forecast by economists in a Reuters poll.
The rupee is off one-week low on corporate inflows. Pair was last at 61.34/35 versus Thursday's close of 61.17/18 after hitting 61.55.
Dealers cited inflows from a large engineering company as well as from a software services company. The pair is up 0.5% so far this week, on way to break two weeks of losses.
Asian shares dropped to a one-month low and the yen pushed higher on Friday, as heightened tension in Ukraine ahead of a weekend referendum sent investors scurrying out of riskier assets.
European shares opened lower, putting major regional indexes on course for their worst weekly loss since January. Britain's FTSE was down 0.4%, Germany's DAX was off 0.7% and France's CAC 40 slipped as much as 0.5%.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.4%, touching its lowest level since mid-February and on track for a weekly loss of more than 3%.
Japan's Nikkei stock average skidded 3.3% to a one-month low, as the yen soared. For the week, the index dropped 6.2%, the biggest weekly drop since last June.
Sectors and Stocks
Bankex, Consumer Durables, It and Teck were the only indices to close in the negative territory, down 0.2-0.7%.
Among the sectoral gainers for the day were Capital goods up nearly 2% followed by Realty and Health Care up 0.8% and 1% respectively.
IT major Wipro and TCS closed down 3% and 0.6% while Infosys gained 1%.
Among financials, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, HDFC and ICICI Bank were down 0.4-1.8%. SBI gained with a marginal 0.1% gain.
Bharti Airtel, Hindustan Unilever, Sesa Sterlite, Maruti Suzuki, ONGC and Coal India down 0.4-2% were the other prominent losers.
Capital goods major, BHEL and L&T gained 2.5% each and were the top gainers among sensex-30.
Pharma names, Dr Reddys Lab, Cipla and Sun Pharma gained 1.5% each.
From the auto space, Tata Motors, Hero MotoCorp and Mahindra & Mahindra added between 1-1.4%.
Index heavyweight, Reliance Industries added 0.8%.
The market breadth was negative owing to weakness in broader markets. 1550 stocks declined while 1207 stocks advanced on the BSE.