Mumbai: Hit by selling in second half of trade, the BSE benchmark Sensex on Wednesday fell for the first time in three days and closed 13.77 points lower at 18,731.16 dragged down by losses in Reliance Industries, HDFC and TCS shares amid weakness in European markets.

After on Thursday's 387-point surge, the index opened stable on Wednesday and gained nearly 125 points to touch day's high of 18,869.88. However, over 3.7 percent losses in RIL weighed on sentiment as investors appeared disappointed with its results.

TCS fell nearly 1.8 percent ahead of its Q4 earnings. Infosys and Wipro also fell. HDFC and HDFC Bank closed lower. The 30-share Sensex finally closed with a 13.77-point loss, or 0.07 percent, at 18,731.16, snapping over 500-point rise in the past two days.

Similarly, the broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty eased by 0.25 points to end at 5,688.70. Sectorally, metal, FMCG, auto, healthcare and banking saw buying while oil&gas and IT stocks were big laggards in trade.

"Markets opened on a positive note following strong rally on Thursday but encountered selling pressure in the second half. RIL was seen down due to profit-booking post Q4 results. TCS will also be releasing its results later and its impact will be seen on Thursday," said Nidhi Saraswat, Senior Research Analyst, Bonanza Portfolio.

Smart rise in ITC, ICICI Bank, SBI, M&M, Sun Pharma and Bajaj Auto limited a major fall in benchmark indices. Fall in the European markets later weighed on the local bourses. France's CAC was down by 0.84 percent, Germany's DAX by 1.12 percent and the UK's FTSE by 0.51 percent.

Asian stocks were mostly ended higher as US stocks rose on Thursday on strong increase in US housing starts and better-than-expected corporate earnings.

Key benchmark indices in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea firmed up by 0.08 percent to 1.22 percent while indices in China and Hong Kong eased by 0.05 percent to 0.47 percent.

Turning back to the domestic market, 17 scrips out of the 30-share Sensex pack closed higher while 13 ended lower. Besides RIL, other losers from the Sensex were Wipro (1.77 pc), TCS (1.73 pc), HDFC (1.57 pc), Tata Power (1.56 pc), ONGC (0.80 pc) and Dr Reddy's Lab (0.76 pc).

Among gainers, Sterlite Ind rose by 4.05 per cent, followed by M&M (3.91 pc), Sun Pharma (3.01 pc), SBI (2.87 pc), ICICI Bank (1.70 pc), ITC (1.59 pc), Bajaj Auto (1.09 pc), Maruti Suzuki (0.82 pc) and Coal India (0.56 pc).

Among the major indices, S&P BSE-Oil&Gas dropped by 2.12 percent, followed by S&P BSE-IT (1.14 pc) and S&P BSE-Teck (0.77 pc), while S&P BSE-Metal rose by 1.27 percent, followed by S&P BSE-FMCG (1.25 pc), S&P BSE-Auto (1.16 pc) and S&P BSE-HC (1.09 pc).

In major earnings on Wednesday, country's fourth largest software services firm HCL Technologies posted better than expected performance with 72.6 percent jump in quarterly profit. However, its shares fell 1.51 percent.

The total market breadth turned negative as 1,199 stocks finished with losses while 1,128 ended with gains. The total turnover rose to Rs 2,277.01 crore from Rs 1,889.42 crore on Thursday. Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 591.76 crore on Thursday as per provisional data from the stock exchanges.


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