Sensex closes flat, retail stocks fall

Mumbai : Indian equities closed flat Monday with investors taking a breather after last week’s rally. Amid some profit booking, a benchmark index traded in a tight range before recouping most of the intra-day losses and closing a tad lower.

Retail stocks fell the most as more signs emerged that the government would hold back the decision to allow foreign players in multi-brand retail.

The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE, which opened at 16,812.3 points, closed at 16,805.33 points, 41.5 points or 0.25 percent down from its previous close at 16,846.83 points.

It had slipped over 155 points in morning trade to an intra-day low of 16,691.21 points.

The 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange also ended lower at 5,039.15 points, down 0.22 percent or 11 points from its previous close.

The Sensex and the Nifty had rallied over 7 percent in the previous week.

Broader markets also closed lacklustre with the BSE 500 index edging 0.09 percent down.

Power, capital goods and PSU stocks to an extent gained, while metals and consumer durables slipped.

Traders, however, sold retail stocks in droves.

The Kishore Biyani-promoted Pantaloon Retail’s scrip fell 12.86 percent to close at Rs.186.40. It had fallen to an intra-day low of Rs.185.10. Vishal Retail’s stock closed 6.2 percent lower at Rs.18.90.

Koutons retails also slipped 6.49 percent and closed at Rs.19.45.

At the BSE, the market breadth was mixed, with 1,353 stocks advancing and 1,337 on the decline. Another 152 were unchanged.

Prominent gainers on the 30 scrip Sensex included NTPC, up 2.5 percent at Rs.176.50; Jaiprakash Associates, up 2.45 percent at Rs.68.95; BHEL, up 1.96 percent at Rs.288 and SBI, up 1.17 percent at Rs.1,908.60.

The losers were Tata Steel, down 1.73 percent at Rs.411.60; Sun Pharma, down 1.46 percent at Rs.524.90; Hero MotoCorp, down 0.99 percent at Rs.2,063 and ITC, down 0.99 percent at Rs.204.35.

According to data available with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), foreign institutional investors (FIIs) bought stocks worth $138.65 million.

Asian markets were mixed as investors cautiously eyed a series of key meetings between European leaders this week.

The Japanese Nikkei closed 0.6 percent up at 8,695.98 points, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.73 percent up at 19,179.69 points.

The Chinese Shanghai composite index ended 1.16 percent lower at 2,333.23 points.

European markets nudged up in anticipation that leaders will announce some steps during the week to contain the debt crisis.

Britain’s FTSE 100 was ruling 0.42 percent up at 5,575.7 points, while the German DAX was trading 0.6 percent higher at 6,117.41 points.

The French CAC 40 was ruling 1.03 percent up at 3,197.43 points.

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