The BSE benchmark index Sensex today closed lower by a moderate 34 points at 15,814.72 on concerns of investors over slowing economic growth and on cautious sentiments ahead of the third quarter earnings season.
The 30-share Sensex at one point touched a low of 15,678.30, down by over 170 points, on weakness in Asian stocks.
It, however, recovered a major part of losses in the late afternoon trade. The barometer finally settled at 15,814.72, lower by 34.08 points from its last close. According to brokers, the market seemed to be in a consolidation phase near 16,000-level before making any move either on the positive side or the negative side.
They added market sentiment was weighed down possibility of disappointing third quarter results by corporates following slowdown in economic growth due to high borrowing costs. "Cautious sentiments prevailed ahead of Q3 of FY 2012 results which is commencing from January 12.
Volatile session ensued in the last hour as Sensex alternated between positive and negative territory before finally closing on a flat note," Shanu Goel, Research Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio said. Infosys and HDFC are scheduled to announce their third quarter results on January 12.
Industrial production numbers for November will come on the the same day. Brokers said investor sentiment was weighed down by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement yesterday that the country was passing through difficult times and the economic growth in the current fiscal could be 7 per cent down from 8.5 per cent a year ago.
Singh had also exuded the confidence that growth rate in the coming years would go up to 9-10 per cent as the "economic fundamentals are strong and ...consittutional processes are robust as also steps taken to control inflation are producing results and there has been some improvement". Refinery and auto stocks attracted profit-booking while power, realty and capital goods stocks were in keen demand.