The BSE Sensex and Nifty ended flat on Tuesday after hitting their second consecutive record highs in as many sessions as blue chips such as Larsen & Toubro extended recent gains bolstered by buying from foreign institutional investors.
Overseas investors have helped underpin gains, buying shares worth Rs. 14.65 billion on Monday, with net purchases in shares reaching $2.27 billion so far this month, according to regulatory data.
However, sharp falls in Reliance Industries Ltd and Oil and Natural Gas Corp following an unexpected request by the Election Commission late on Monday for the government to defer a rise in gas prices, prevented any meaningful upside.
Traders are seen locking some profits in the coming days after the BSE Sensex's near 4.4% gain in March so far, ahead of eventful next few weeks with the Reserve Bank of India's policy review on April 1, the general elections due to conclude by May, and the expiry of equity derivative contracts on Thursday.
"It's normal to see market trading with flattish tone ahead of F&O expiry as traders' focus shifts to rollover and unwinding of positions. But, it would be over soon and we expect that the markets will resume the prevailing uptrend," said Jayant Manglik, president - retail distribution at Religare Securities Limited.
The broader Nifty rose 0.1%, or 6.25 points, to 6,589.75, while the benchmark BSE Sensex ended flat at 22,055.21.
The Nifty and Sensex had earlier hit their lifetime highs of 6,595.55 and 22,079.96 respectively, surpassing their previous all-time highs hit on Monday.
Among blue chips, Larsen & Toubro rose 1.5%, while Hero MotoCorp gained 3.3%.
Also, ICICI Bank Ltd gained 0.8%, while ITC Ltd rose 0.6%.
Arvind Ltd gained 5.7% after the retailer said on Monday that a unit had bought a 49% stake in Calvin Klein India for an undisclosed amount.
Shares of gas distributor Indraprastha Gas Ltd rose 4.1% after the country's election commission asked the government to defer a planned hike in gas prices due to start on April 1.
Shares of other companies dependant on gas also rose. Tata Power Co Ltd gained 1.4%, while Chambal Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd rose 3.6%.
However, Reliance Industries ended 2.9% lower and ONGC lost 0.4% as the potential delay in gas price hike was seen hitting their earnings.