The BSE Sensex retreated from record highs hit earlier in the session to end flat as profit-taking hit blue chips such as Infosys Ltd on caution ahead of the release of quarterly earnings and inflation data next week.
Next week marks the start of quarterly earnings reports, while India
will also release consumer price inflation data, in the midst of a five-week elections.
Overseas investors have been heavy buyers of Indian shares, buying $173.50 million worth of shares on Wednesday, totalling $4.7 billion so far in 2014.
But domestic institutional investors are much less subdued in their buying. Life Insurance Corp was spotted selling IT and bank shares after a recent rally, said four dealers at brokerages that handle trades on behalf of India's largest state-run insurer.
"Indian stock market performance in recent times has been driven by hopes of a favorable election outcome. In my view, India's ability to take control of current account problem has helped the economy," said Atul Kumar, equity fund manager at Quantum's equity funds.
The benchmark Sensex rose as much as 0.4% to its life-high of 22,792.49, while the Nifty rose 0.33% to a record 6,819.05.
However, both indexes ended flat, with the Nifty ending unchanged and the BSE index ending up 0.06% higher.
Profit-taking hit Infosys, which fell 1.6% on caution ahead of March-quarter results due on April 15.
Sun Pharmaceutical Industries fell 2.3% on profit-taking after rising 7.1% in the previous session.
Among other blue chips, ITC Ltd fell 1.2% while ICICI Bank lost 1%.
However, stocks tied to domestic economy remained in favour. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd gained 2.7%, Axis Bank ended 1.3% higher.
The Adani group companies surged on what traders attribute partially to the view that the group would perform well should the Bharatiya Janata Party led by Narendra Modi win elections, given perceptions of close links.
Adani Enterprises Ltd surged 22.9%, marking its biggest single day ever, Adani Power rose 1% while Adani Port and Special Economic Zone ended 5.2% higher.
Crompton Greaves Ltd rose 6% after earlier marking its highest level since July 2011, adding to Wednesday's 9.3% gain, on hopes the power equipment maker will report a turnaround in earnings during the January-March quarter.
Tata Motors gained 2.4% after earlier rising to a record high of 435 rupees after Citigroup raised its target on the stock to 486 rupees from 421 rupees, citing the outlook for the Indian automaker's luxury unit Jaguar Land Rover.
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