Equities end flat-to-negative as last hour sell-off pare gains

New York Stock Exchange

Specialist trader Geoffrey Friedman gives a price just after the opening bell on the floor of the New York Stock

Mumbai: Paring entire gains of the day, the key Indian equity indices provisionally closed in the red as a sell-off in metals, banking and healthcare stocks, among others, subdued investors' risk-taking appetite.

The Nifty IT index was up 0.6 percent with Tech Mahindra trading 1.6 percent higher.

Traders said sentiment remained upbeat on increased buying by domestic institutional investors and a firm trend at other Asian markets, extending gains on Wall Street following signs from the White House that US President Donald Trump's tariffs may be softer than initially feared. Sectoral indices led by Metal, IT, Teck, Consumer Durables and FMCG led the gains, rising by up to 0.64 per cent.

Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services, said: "Market reversed from the last six days losing streak as ease in trade war concerns and short covering in PSU banks supported the rally".

On the currency front, the Indian rupee weakened by two paise to close at 65.17 against the USA dollar from its previous close at 65.15.

The 30-share Sensex rose on unabated buying by domestic institutional as well as retail investors.

Figures from the National Securities Depository (NSDL) revealed that foreign portfolio investors invested in equities worth Rs 1,384.36 crore, or $212.98 million, during March 5-9.

Sectorwise, the S&P BSE banking index augmented by 389.41 points, auto index by 220.70 points and capital goods index by 203.84 points.

The top weekly Sensex gainers were: Asian Paints (up 0.73 per cent at Rs 1,127.75); NTPC (up 0.55 per cent at Rs 163.90); HDFC (up 0.32 per cent at Rs 1,818.45); Infosys (up 0.27 per cent at Rs 1,163.40); and Hero MotoCorp (up 0.21 per cent at Rs 3,587).

The Sensex losers were: Tata Steel, down 4.66 per cent at Rs 605.60; Adani Ports, down 2.91 per cent at Rs 377.30; Axis Bank, down 2.85 per cent at Rs 505.35; Sun Pharma, down 1.67 per cent at Rs 506.80; and ICICI Bank, down 1.43 per cent at Rs 292.70.

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