Indian stocks saw profit taking in a special trading session to mark the auspicious occasion of Diwali on Tuesday. The Sensex closed 51 points or 0.3 per cent lower at 18,619 while the broader Nifty ended 17 points down at 5,667.
The 75-minute Muhurat Trading Session was conducted to pay obeisance to Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. It also marks the New Year for traders as per the Hindu calendar, or Samvat 2069.
The Muhurat Trading typically sees stocks gain as it is considered lucky to make purchases on Diwali, but major blue-chip stocks dragged down the Sensex 0.3 percent. The unexpected fall in industrial production, a slump in exports and higher retail inflation weighed on sentiments today.
The highlight of the trade was the surge in UB group shares. Kingfisher Airlines shares gained 4.5 per cent despite reports that the debt laden carrier has not paid May salaries to its employees. Vijay Mallya promoted United Breweries surged nearly 16 per cent while United Breweries Holdings closed 4.6 per cent higher. However, United Spirits shares saw profit booking. The stock closed 1.5 per cent lower after surging 35 per cent on Monday.
On Friday, U.K. based Diageo plc had announced a $2.1 billion deal to acquire 53.4 per cent stake in Mr Mallya promoted United Spirits.
Shares in L&T Finance Holdings Ltd, a unit of infrastructure giant Larsen & Toubro, surged 16.1 percent, continuing a strong run of gains, on hopes it will benefit from a fresh allocation of banking licences.
On the 50-share Nifty benchmark, only 17 stocks managed to advance. Mobile carrier Bharti Airtel was the top gainer, up 1.1 per cent. The poor response to the online auction for 2G telecom spectrum is seen as a positive for the company.
Cement maker Jaiprakash Associates was the top Nifty loser, down 2.5 per cent as Q2 profit fell 48 per cent. UltraTech Cement, the year's biggest gainer, closed 1.4 per cent lower. Realty major DLF declined 1.3 per cent after Q2 net profit fell 63 per cent.
Drug maker Dr Reddy's saw profit taking. It closed 1.2 per cent lower. Grasim Industries and Tata Motors were the other stocks to shed over 1 per cent in trade today.
On the broader BSE 500, SpiceJet shares ended 5 per cent lower after the domestic carrier reported a loss of Rs 164 crore in the quarter that ended on September 30, compared with a loss of Rs. 240 crore a year ago.
Media stocks saw strong buying interest after many analysts identified this sector as a potential gainer.
"Media is the most important sector after food, clothing and shelter. The sector might see a lot of consolidation over the next few years," Sunil Singhania, head (equities) at Reliance Capital Asset Management told NDTV Profit.
Volumes were thin in the special trading session. Transactions done during the Muhurat Trading Session will be settled as a separate settlement.
Shares bought on November 12 should not be sold on November 13 as trades done on both these days will be settled together on November 16. The timings for pay-in schedule for stocks sold on November 12 and November 13 will be at 09.30 a.m. and 1.30 p.m. respectively on November 16, 2012 respectively.
The daily mark to market settlement for Futures and premium settlement for Options, for trades done in F&O Segment on November 13 will take place on November 15.