In the absence of any trigger, the markets closed flat on Thursday with the benchmark Sensex ending lower by over 35 points as major players remained on sidelines amid fresh developments on the political front.
The bellwether Sensex, which breached 14k level at 14,047.43 during the day, however, settled at 13,926.24, down by 38.02 points.
The National Stock Exchange index Nifty, however, gained 5.10 points at 4,162.20 after stocks of Reliance Industries, Reliance Energy, DLF Ltd, Larsen and Toubro and Cairn India recorded fresh gains.
Brokers said a weakening trend in the US stock markets last night influenced trading to some extent. They said investors also took cues from SEBI data, which showed that funds based abroad sold more Indian stocks than they bought during the past seven weeks.
Oil and gas sector fell the most by 53.51 points at 9,079.59, followed by realty sector index, which lost 25.14 points at 4876.02. IT index were down 30.67 points at 4,189.40 and Auto index by 40.35 points at 3,565.67.
Capital goods index fell by 24.71 points at 11,340.05, bank index 18.28 points, Teck index at 3137.53, FMCG index by 12.62 points at 2029.76, Power index by 7.09 points at 2448.78 and Healthcare index by 0.40 point at 4154.72.
Metal and aluminium bucked the general trend and saved the market from a major fall. Metal index gained 316.55 points as stocks of MMTC, Hindalco, Nalco, Tata Steel, Sterlite, Sesa Goa and Maharashtra Steel recorded handsome gains.
PSU index also rose by 106.98 points at 6,073.82 as Bharat Petroleum, Chennai Petro, among others, rose smartly.
As the buying activity remained selective, small-cap index rose by 19.36 points at 6809.24 and mid-cap index by 4.52 points at 5475.20.