Mumbai, Oct 18 (PTI) After dropping over 250 points earlier in the day, the benchmark Sensex reversed losses on Monday to close 44 points up in the last hour buying in IT stocks and healthy second quarter numbers, especially by L&T.
Snapping consecutive losses of past two sessions, the Bombay Stock Exchange's 30-share barometer ended the session at 20,168.89, up 43.84 points, or 0.22 per cent. The index was under pressure since morning and traded below 20,000-level for most of the part.
During the day, the Sensex had plunged 254 points to hit a low of 19,870, as investors booked profit to stock up money for Rs 15,000 crore mega IPO by Coal India.
In a similar trend, the wide-based 50-share Nifty Index of National Stock Exchange finished the session higher by 0.22 per cent at 6,075.95. During the session, it had slipped below the psychosocial 6,000 level.
"The market saw accelerated selling in mid-morning trade and in afternoon, as some investors pulled out money to apply for the Coal India IPO. Sentiment was also nervous after two consecutive weeks of losses," India Infoline V-P Research Amar Ambani said.
Engineering giant L&T, which reported robust jump of 32 per cent in Q2 profit at Rs 765 crore, ended with a gain of 1.19 per cent.
Marketmen said L&T numbers beat the Street estimates, helping the scrip to erase losses suffered in the early part.
On sectoral front, IT was the star after Friday's disappointing session post Infosys results. Other notable gainers were oil & gas, realty and tech while consumer durables stocks were the worst hit.
IT bellwether Infosys, which had fallen 3.39 per cent in the last trade despite posting strong Q2 numbers, pulled-back smartly and ended 1 per cent higher. Rival TCS also saw heavy demand and closed up by nearly 3 per cent--the most in the BSE -30 pack. Wipro, however, settled 1.26 per cent lower.
Infosys result was the way ahead of Street as well as our expectation, Angel Broking said in a note.
HDFC, another blue-chip company that on Monday declared its September quarter results, however failed to enthuse investors and ended 0.34 per cent down.
Reliance Industries, that holds the maximum weight in the Sensex, too attracted buying and gained 0.77 per cent to close at Rs 1,048.90.
"Near-term outlook for the market is a little murky and calls for continued caution. Brace for some volatility too, as we are in the midst of an earnings season," Ambani added.