The BSE Sensex declined for a fifth day in a row suggesting a broad correction in stock markets. The Sensex fell 20 points or 0.10 per cent to 19,640 while the 50-share Nifty closed 2 points higher at 5,959. The rupee traded lower at 53.15 to the dollar.
Markets fell despite a strong start that saw the Sensex jump over 100 points. The Sensex has now fallen 350 points in the last five sessions, and markets are trading at more than a four-week low.
There's no consensus among analysts whether the markets have topped out or this is just an extended correction. Technical analyst Sarvendra Srivastava said as long as 5,940 is held on the Nifty, he would retain his bullish stance.
"The Dow Jones is sitting near a new high, Germany's DAX is close to an all-time high... Our markets should also attempt a breakout to all-time new highs," Mr Srivastava added.
Investors are cautious ahead of the 2013-14 Budget to be unveiled later this month, which is seen as a key test of commitments to shore up finance.
27 stocks ended higher on the Nifty led by Jindal Steel and Power, which gained 2.2 per cent. Private lender Kotak Mahindra Bank and Ambuja Cements also closed with over 2 per cent gains.
Car maker Maruti Suzuki extended gains and added 1.7 per cent higher. Maruti shares have been gaining after better than expected Q3 earnings led to multiple upgrades.
Bank of Baroda rebounded after falling nearly 10 per cent in the previous two sessions. The stock fell after the PSU lender reported rising non-performing assets in its December quarter earnings.
Infra major Jaiprakash Associates was the top Nifty loser, falling 3.75 per cent.
Power major NTPC fell 2.35 per cent ahead of its share sale tomorrow. The base price is likely to be priced below the current market price. Coal India was the other big loser, ending down 2 per cent. (Read full story here)