After jumping over 265 points in early trade, the benchmark Sensex frittered away most of the gains and ended with a marginal 3.33 point rise at 29,007.99 on nervousness ahead of Union Budget and monthly derivative contracts expiry.
Thursday will see markets reacting to the Railway Budget as well as portfolio churning by investors as monthly derivative contracts expire. After the Economic Survey on Friday, the much-awaited Union Budget would be presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday.
Stocks opened on a strong footing on increased foreign capital inflows and a firming global trend on relief over Greek debt deal and as US Federal Reserve hinted that a rate hike is unlikely before June.
However, losses in Sensex constituents including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, TCS, L&T, Sun Pharma and Dr Reddys dragged the BSE barometer towards the red. The Sensex managed to end in the green because of gains in heavyweights like Infosys and ITC along with support from HDFC, Wipro and Bharti Airtel.
The 30-share Sensex hit a session high of 29,263.83 in the first half but succumbed to profit-booking in the last 90 minutes. It slipped into the negative zone and hit a low of 28,967.61 but support from select FMCG, IT, and Oil & Gas shares helped the Sensex settle with a marginal rise of 3.33 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 29,007.99. The Sensex has now gathered over 33 points in two straight sessions.
Also, the NSE index Nifty edged up by 5.15 points, or 0.06 per cent, to end at 8,767.25. Intra-day, it shuttled between 8,751.40 and 8,840.65.
Brokers said higher levels could not be sustained as participants turned cautious and indulged in profit-booking.
Besides, a mixed closing at other Asian markets and a weak opening in Europe also cast a shadow here, they added.
Stocks of HDFC Ltd gained the most among Sensex constituents by rising 2.43 per cent on hopes of sops for housing finance companies in the upcoming Union Budget.
Among the 30-Sensex constituents, 12 shares ended higher and 18 counters finished lower.
Sectorally, the BSE Teck index gained the most by rising 0.47 per cent, IT index by 0.45 per cent, FMCG index by 0.36 per cent and Realty index by 0.35 per cent among others.
Foreigners bought shares worth a net Rs 697.28 crore yesterday while Domestic Institutional Investors sold shares worth a net Rs 146.98 crore.