Failing to retain intra-day gains, the BSE benchmark Sensex finally ended on a flat note on Wednesday - down 18 points at 18,727 - due to selling pressure on banking, PSU and healthcare stocks as investors remained cautious ahead of the first quarter corporate results.
However, brokers said that continued buying by foreign funds in some heavyweights capped the fall. Besides, globally, Asian markets showed signs of recovery, although European markets remained weak on debt concerns after Moody's cut Portugal's ratings.
A dip in ICICI Bank, SBI, ONGC, Tata Power and HUL was offset by a rise in RIL, HDFC, L&T and Tata motor.
Brokers said investors, concerned that the high interest rates regime will crimp corporate earnings, were picking up stocks in the midcap and small cap sectors.
The Bombay Stock Exchange 30-stock index, Sensex, resumed weak and moved erratically in the 141 point range of 18,823.45 and 18,682.60 before concluding at 18,726.97, down 17.59 points or 0.09%.
The broad-based NSE 50-issue Nifty eased by 6.65 points or 0.12% to 5,625.45.
Meanwhile, FIIs continued to buy, picking up shares worth Rs 825.52 crore on Tuesday as per the provisional data.
"Investors are sticking to a ‘wait-and-watch’ approach in the run up to the latest corporate results. The only positive factor is the turnaround in FII flows. At the same time, local funds have been net sellers," said Amar Ambani, Head of Research, IIFL.