Photographs: Reuters SI Reporter in Mumbai
The markets ended flat amid a volatile trading session on Monday after elections for the 16th Lok Sabha kicked off today.
Meanwhile, Sun Pharma and Ranbaxy Labs hogged the limelight after Sun Pharma announced the acquisition of Ranbaxy Labs.
The 30-share Sensex ended down 16 points at 22,343 after hitting an intra-day high/low of 22,482/22,197 and the 50-share Nifty ended flat at 6,695 after touching an intra-day high/low of 6,725/6,650.
NSE's volatility index, or the domestic equivalent of the VIX fear gauge, surged to 25.5, in intra-day trade to mark its highest in four months on rising fears of profit-booking after a recent rally as the world's largest democracy goes to polls, from today till May 12. The India VIX ended up 9.7% at 24.89.
The Bharatiya Janta Party today released its manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls with the pledge of 'Ek Bharat - Shresth Bharat'. The party said its focus will be on economic growth, employment, e-governance, boosting tourism and simplification of tax regime among other things.
Asian markets ended lower with Nikkei witnessing a sharp fall to end 1.7% lower on the back of a stronger yen and profit taking in biotech shares on Wall Street on Friday. Among other markets in the region, Hang Seng and Straits Times ended down 0.6%. Meanwhile, China's stock markets were closed for trading today.
Consumer Durables index was the top loser among the sectoral indices on the BSE followed by Realty, Power, Healthcare, Auto, Bankex among others.
ICICI Bank, Infosys and Dr Reddy's Labs contributed the most to the Sensex decline along with index heavyweight Reliance Industries which ended down 0.3%.
BHEL ended down 3.3% after after the company said net profit for the financial year 2013-14 (FY14) more than halved to Rs 3,228 crore on account of low volumes and challenges in the domestic power sector. The power equipment major had posted a net profit of Rs 6,615 crore in FY13.
Sun Pharma ended up 2.3% after it decided to acquire the troubled pharma company Ranbaxy Laboratories in a $3.2 billion all-share deal. Under terms of the agreed deal, Ranbaxy shareholders will get 0.8 of a Sun Pharmaceutical sharfor each Ranbaxy share they own.
Among other shares, Housing Development and Infrastructure ended up 1.5% extending its Friday’s 16% rally, after Nomura Singapore Limited acquired nearly 1 percentage point stake in the Mumbai-based real estate firm through an open market transaction.
Diamond Power Infrastructure gained 5.3%, extending Friday’s 19% rally, after overseas investors acquired nearly 5% stake in the company for Rs 14 crore through the open market.
Shares of cement manufacturers ended up 1-3% on expectations of higher profit growth for the quarter ended March 2014, on a sequential basis, due to pick-up in cement prices and demand.
In the broader market, the BSE Mid-cap index was down 0.6% and the Small-cap index was trading flat.
Market breadth was weak with 1,233 gainers and 1,186 losers on the BSE.