The BSE Sensex managed to notch up 44 point gain today at 18,420 on fag-end buying in stocks of IT, banking and capital goods at lower levels, although global markets were weak on disappointing US job data.
Blue chips such as Infosys, TCS, HDFC Bank, ICICI, Cipla and L&T were the major gainers of the day. The Sensex opened lower at 18,344.27 and dropped to day's low of 18,258.42 on selling pressure amid continuing concerns over inflation and high interest rate regime.
However, it recovered to the day's high of 18,458.63 before ending at 18,420.11, up 43.63 points or 0.24 per cent from its last weekend's level. It had lost 232 points in the previous two sessions. Broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty closed up 15.30 points at 5,532.05, after touching a low of 5,479.85. Auto stocks slipped on reports that a government panel, expected to meet on Thursday, make raise prices of diesel.
It is also expected to raise cooking gas rates and, together with diesel, the price hike might fan inflation leading to further rise interest rates, brokers said. Besides Bajaj Auto and M&M, Jaiprakash Associates, Hindalco, ONGC, Reliance Infra and Hindustan Unilver also fell moderately on selling pressure.
"The Sensex bounced back into the positive territory at the end of the day on account of short covering. Market advance - decline ratio was not favourable," said Parag Doctor, Associate Vice President at Motilal Oswal Securities. Bonanza Portfolio Senior Research Analyst Shanu Goel said, "Markets opened the first day of the week reacting to weak global cues post disappointing US employment data. Volatility remained high throughout the session."