Benchmark indices started on a choppy note on Tuesday as investors turned cautious amid selling by domestic and foreign funds ahead of RBI's monetary policy review. The 30-share index was trading 34.07 points higher at 36,616.81. Similarly, the 50-share NSE Nifty also rose by 22.10 points to 10,934.35. In the Sensex pack, Hero MotoCorp, IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Auto, Maruti and M&M were the top gainers, rising up to 2.66 per cent.
On Monday, however, the Sensex ended 113.31 points, or 0.31 per cent, higher at 36,582.74. The index posted gains for a third straight day; the NSE Nifty also edged higher by 18.60 points, or 0.17 per cent, to close at 10,912.25.
Investors are cautious ahead of the rate-setting 3-day policy review meeting of the Reserve Bank of India, scheduled to begin later in the day, traders said.
The RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) on Tuesday began its three-day meet to decide on key rates amid expectations that it would change stance to neutral on low inflation but may not cut rates due to fiscal challenges and rising oil prices.
In morning session on Tuesday, Bharti Airtel was the biggest loser in the Sensex pack, cracking nearly 4 per cent, on reports that Moody's downgraded the company's rating by one notch to Ba1 from Baa3, marking the first time an international rating agency has downgraded the stock.
Other losers include Tata Motors, HDFC, ICICI Bank, TCS, Infosys, Tata Steel and HDFC Bank, falling up to 0.83 per cent. Meanwhile, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Finance, M&M, IndusInd Bank, Bajaj Auto and SBI were the top gainers, rising up to 1 per cent.
"After the consolidation and time correction in the Indian markets, valuations are reasonable at 17-18 times one year forward earnings, given the expectations of a strong recovery in earnings. Global uncertainty and the election-related volatility are key near-term risks in the market," said Hemang Jani, Head - Advisory, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas. On a net basis, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net of Rs 112.13 crore Monday, and domestic institutional investors (DIIs) were net sellers to the tune of Rs 65.22 crore, provisional data available with BSE showed.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei slipped 0.02 per cent. Bourses in China, South Korea, Singapore and Indonesia remained closed for the Lunar New Year. On Wall Street, Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.70 per cent higher on Monday.
The rupee, meanwhile, rebounded 4 paise against the US dollar to 71.76 intra-day. The benchmark Brent crude futures rose 0.64 per cent to USD 62.91 per barrel.
(With inputs from PTI)