The benchmark Sensex oscillated for the most part of the session, but notched up gains for the third straight day as investors played safe ahead of the January derivatives expiry tomorrow amid a mixed trend overseas.
Sustained outflows by foreign funds and a mixed global trend ahead of the outcome of the US Fed’s two-day policy meet later in the day kept sentiment fragile.
The rupee too queered the pitch, which fell to a 29-month low against the dollar at 68.05.
A firming trend in Asia and overnight gains in the US on the back of a rally in crude oil helped, but participants rushed to book profits ahead of tomorrow’s monthly expiry, which kept a lid on gains. But oil was back to square one as it resumed its slide, which dampened mood.
The 30-share barometer, which had gained 523.74 points in the previous two sessions, inched up 6.44 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 24,492.39 at the close. It moved between 24,645.70 and 24,458.13.
The broader Nifty settled higher by 1.60 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 7,437.75.
Support came from gains in NTPC, Dr Reddy’s, Sun Pharma, Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Wipro, ITC Ltd, SBI, GAIL, TCS, Maruti Suzuki, ICICI Bank and Infosys.
However, BHEL, Asian Paints, Hindustan Unilever, Hero MotoCorp, Adani Ports, Axis Bank and Bajaj Auto succumbed to profit-booking towards the fag end.
Among BSE sectoral indices, power gained the most by rising 1.61 per cent, followed by realty (1.08 per cent), infrastructure (0.74 per cent), healthcare (0.69 per cent), PSU (0.68 per cent) and metal (0.34 per cent).
“Indices remained in consolidation mode ahead of the outcome of US Fed meet. Bounceback in the commodity prices and positive global markets lifted sentiment. However, depreciation in the rupee capped the gains,” said Gaurav Jain, Director, Hem Securities.
Broader markets outperformed the benchmark as investors widened their bets, with the small-cap index rising 0.57 per cent and mid-cap index 0.30 per cent.
Foreign portfolio investors net sold shares worth Rs 91.15 crore on Monday, provisional data from stock exchanges showed. Markets were closed yesterday for the Republic Day.
Globally, a mixed closing at other Asian markets and Europe coupled with disappointing earnings numbers reignited investor concerns about global economic recovery.