Markets ended flat on eve of Christmas Day amid lacklustre participation from traders and investors in wake of the truncated week and caution ahead of the expiry of November derivative contracts next week.
The S&P BSE Sensex ended down 12 points at 25,839 and the Nifty50 ended 5 points lower at 7,861.
In the broader market, the BSE Midcap and Smallcap indices ended up 0.3%-0.5% each. Market breadth was positive with 1553 gainers and 1120 losers on the BSE.
"Markets remained lacklustre amid lack of buying interest in wake of the truncated week and traders cautious ahead of the expiry of November derivative contracts next week," said Prakash Diwan, Director, Altamount Capital Management.
Meanwhile, crude oil prices came off its multi-year lows after data released overnight showed US crude inventories has dropped unexpectedly previous week.
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), US crude inventories have slipped by 5.88 million barrels to 484.78 million last week as against a forecast of rise by 1.4 million barrels.
Indian Forex and currency markets are closed today on account of Id-A-Milad. Further, Indian equity, forex, money and commodity markets will remain closed tomorrow, Friday on account of Christmas.
Financial shares ended lower with HDFC, ICICI Bank, SBI and Axis Bank down 0.3%-1.3% each contributing the most to the Sensex decline.
Shares of metal and mining companies gained following a rebound in the commodity prices. Vedanta and Hindalco ended up 1.6%-3.2% each.
Coal India ended flat with positive bias. The company plans to invest approximately Rs 500 crore in its joint venture with Indian Railways to procure rail wagons for transporting coal.
Idea Cellular gained nearly 1% after it announced the launch of fourth generation (4G) services in all four telecom service areas of South India on Wednesday ahead of the launch of Reliance Jio. Meanwhile, its rival Bharti Airtel gained 2%.
Oil exploration major ONGC ended 0.7% lower. The company plans to invest Rs 3,500 crore in extracting gas lying below coal seams (CBM) in three coal-bed methane blocks in eastern India.
State-owned banks ended lower after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) criticized the dividend distribution policy of PSU banks in its latest Financial Stability Report (FSR) report.
IDBI Bank, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Bank of India, SBI and Union Bank of India slipped between 0.5%-1.5%.
Sun Pharma ended flat. The company today said it has raised Rs 1,000 crore through issuance of non-convertible debentures (NCDs) on private placement basis.
In the auto pack, Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto, Hero MotoCorp and M&M ended up 0.2%-1% higher.
Among others, Dr. Lal PathLabs and Alkem Laboratories continued their upward march, surging 9%-11% on the bourses after making stellar debut on the exchanges on Wednesday.