The BSE Sensex, which on Wednesday snapped a five-day losing run to mark its first positive close in 2014, ended with a loss of 16.01 points, or 0.08 percent, at 20,713.37. Trading in a narrow 125-point zone, the index rose to a high of 20,778.13 and a low of 20,652.69 during the session.
Gains in ONGC and Sesa Sterlite marginally outweighed losses in L&T and Axis Bank as twelve stocks in the 30-share Sensex advanced while 18 counters declined.
Shares of Infosys gained 0.66 percent on selective buying ahead of quarterly earnings on Friday. Another bluechip, RIL ended the day in positive zone after it added the first production well on the eastern offshore fields in four years.
Similarly, the 50-share NSE index Nifty fell 6.25 points, or 0.10 percent, to 6,168.35. Also, SX40 index of MCX Stock Exchange slipped 8.59 points lower to end at 12,366.83.
All major Asian indices, including Nikkei, Hang Seng and KOSPI, closed in the red. However, European benchmarks were trading in the green in afternoon trade.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on Thursday convenes the first rate-setting meeting of 2014 in Frankfurt. Additionally, a US initial jobless claims report is expected to guide global markets.
Back in the domestic markets, shares of gold financing firms Muthoot Finance and Manappuram Finance surged up to 20 percent after the RBI allowed NBFCs to lend up to 75 percent of the value of metal from 60 percent at present.     

Sectorally, the BSE Realty sector index fell the most by 2.31 percent. Capital Goods index dropped by 2.03 percent as Larsen and Toubro fell 2.68 percent and Punj Lloyd slid 2.39 percent. The Banking index fell by 0.74 percent after SBI, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank declined.


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