Sensex inches up 8 points in tepid start to new year

The BSE Sensex on Thursday ended with a mere gain of about eight points at 27,507.54 in the first trading session of new year in lacklustre trade.

Traders said directionless investors confined their commitments to select stocks having strong fundamentals amid most Asian financial markets remaining closed. On Wednesday, markets closed higher for the fourth straight day and wrapped up 2014 with the best annual gain in five years. Telecom, auto, infrastructure and metal sector stocks saw some activity.

After a lower start at 27,485.77, the 30-share BSE Sensex slipped further to 27,395.34. However, losses were wiped off on the back of gain in select blue-chips towards the fag-end. It closed higher by 8.12 points, or 0.03 per cent, to 27,507.54. It touched a high of 27,545.61.

Bharti Airtel counter emerged the top gainer among Sensex stocks by surging 2.86 per cent after telecom regulator yesterday recommended base price for Rs 2,720 crore/megahertz for sale of pan-India 3G mobile spectrum in February.

The 50-share Nifty on the National Stock Exchange edged up by 1.30 points, or 0.02 per cent, to 8,284 after moving between 8,294.70 and 8,248.75 intra-day. Retail investors bought second-line stocks with small cap and mid cap indices outperforming the Sensex with gains of 1.25 per cent and 0.65 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth Rs 481.08 crore yesterday.

Among auto stocks, Maruti Suzuki gained after it reported a 20.8 per cent increase in total sales in December.

Other auto stocks such as M&M, Bajaj Auto, Hero MotoCorp and Tata Motors also ended in positive terrain.

In metal space, Sesa Sterlite was up 2.34 per cent, Tata Steel by 1.30 per cent and Hindalco by 0.57 per cent.

Sectorally, the BSE Metal sector index gained the most by surging 1.07 per cent, followed by Auto index (0.39 per cent), Capital Goods (0.38 per cent), Consumer Durables (0.21 per cent) and Realty (0.17 per cent) among others.

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