The BSE benchmark Sensex closed with a minor gain of over 32 points on Thursday as investors refrained from buying riskier assets ahead of the release of key economic data by the US.
Gaining strength from an overnight rally on Wall Street and supported by firm Asian bourses, the markets started the day on a strong note, but were unable to maintain the gains as investors booked profit after every rise, brokers said.
The 30-share barometer of the Bombay Stock Exchange ended higher by 32.44 points, or 0.18 per cent, at 18,238.31. During the session, the index jumped about 150 points to hit a high of 18,355.84.
The National Stock Exchange's wide-based 50-share Nifty index finished at 5,486.15, up 0.26 per cent.
"Investors don't want to miss a single opportunity to book profit and market is trading in a broader range. In early hour, global cues were in favor, but as the session passed, sentiment was subdued and market ended almost flat," Ashika Stock Brokers Research Head Paras Bothra said.
Analysts said investors were cautious ahead of the release of key economic data by the US. Jobless claims, non-farm productivity and home sales data are due from the world's largest economy.
Buoyed by a 51 per cent rise in cement sales during August, Jaiprakash Associates climbed 4.32 per cent and was the best performer in the Sensex pack.
Consumer durables, FMCG, banking and auto stocks were in demand, while IT, technology and energy stocks were among the worst hit.
HDFC rose 1.5 per cent, HDFC Bank 1.46 per cent and ICICI Bank 0.83 per cent. Tata Power moved up 1.67 per cent, ITC 1.2 per cent and HUL 0.86 per cent.
Reliance Industries, which holds the maximum weight in the Sensex, ended 0.07 per cent higher at Rs 937.15.
The sentiment on Dalal Street was also upbeat after Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said overall direct taxes growth so far in the current fiscal is "satisfactory".
April-July direct tax revenue grew by 15.75 per cent in comparison to the year-ago period. While corporate tax revenue was up 20.9 per cent, personal income tax revenue rose by 8.51 per cent during the period.
Higher tax collections fuel speculation that earnings may rise, an analyst said.
Sterlite advanced 2.59 per cent as global copper prices rebounded, while L&T gained 0.49 per cent.