Pre-holiday mood set in over the stock markets Monday, as the benchmark Sensex ended flat in a volatile trade despite hectic buying in blue chips like Hero Honda and Infosys Technologies.
Shying away from the 20,000-mark, the 30-share sensitive index of Bombay Stock Exchange ended at 19,888.88, up 24.03 points or 0.12% from previous close.
Intra-day, however, it hit a high of 20,006.16, breaching the psychological level, but could not sustain the momentum due to the cautious mood and selective buying in the market.
A similar pattern was witnessed in the National Stock Exchange's wide based Nifty which settled the day with a marginal gain of 1.70 points or 0.03 per cent at 5,947.05.
Marketmen attributed the volatility on the street to cautious approach of the investors due to the pre-holiday mood ahead of Christmas and New Year.
"Dalal Street will get the clear direction only in the month of January as a pre-holiday mood prevails in the market, due to which there will be range-bound trading ahead of the Christmas holiday with the slowdown in the activity towards the December end,"Religare Securities Executive Vice-President Rajesh Jain said.
Brisk buying in the motorcycle giant Hero Honda failed to bring excitement to the lacklustre street. However, with a handsome gain of 17.99 per cent, the scrip managed to offset
some of the losses in the bellwether Sensex. Last week, Hero Group announced the acquisition of 26 per cent stake of its Japanese partner Honda in the JV -- Hero Honda.
"The BSE Auto index zoomed as Hero Honda surged on more clarity from the management on the termination of JV with Honda. A lot of stock specific action was seen even as the
overall market trend was rather subdued," IIFL Head of Research Amar Ambani said.
Other auto majors including Maruti Suzuki and Mahindra & Mahindra also accelerated by 2.37 per cent and 1.80 per cent respectively.
IT counters too grabbed investors' attention with the bellwether Infosys advancing by 1.78 per cent and TCS gaining 2.27 per cent. Software major Wipro also witnessed a smart
rise of 1.75 per cent.
"Hopes of strong third quarter results led to the rally in the IT stocks for the third consecutive session," said an expert.
Of the 30 Sensex components, 17 ended the day on a subdued note with the top lenders SBI and HDFC Bank playing the major spoilt sports. While the former declined by 2.11 per cent, the latter saw a plunge of 1.30 per cent. ICICI Bank, however, bucked the trend by losing 0.44 per cent.