The Indian equity benchmarks were little changed ahead of weekly expiry of index futures and option contracts due later in the day. Meanwhile, gains in Reliance Industries, State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, Infosys, ONGC and IndusInd Bank were offset by losses in ICICI Bank, HDFC, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Bajaj Finance. Meanwhile, Chinese shares rose on Thursday during the first trading session after the week-long Lunar New Year holiday amid renewed optimism for an acceleration in global growth, but other Asian markets were hit by profit-taking.
As of 9:23 am, the Sensex rose 84 points to 51,787.64 and Nifty 50 index advanced 22 points to 15,231.
“Nifty formed lower top lower bottom formation on Feb 17 after the recent rise, raising concerns about the rally getting tired. However an equal advance decline ratio on a negative day means that some bottom fishing has happened in stocks that have corrected over the last few days. 15112-15170 could be the next support band for Nifty. On rise 15340 could act as a resistance,” said Deepak Jasani, head of retail research, HDFC Securities.
Six of 11 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange were trading lower led by the Nifty Private Bank index’s 0.6 per cent fall. Nifty Financial Services, Auto, Bank, Pharma and Realty indexes were also trading with a negative bias.
On the other hand, IT, metal and PSU banking stocks were witnessing buying interest.
Mid- and small-cap shares were outperforming their larger peers as Nifty Midcap 100 index rose 0.3 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index advanced 0.7 per cent.
GAIL India was top Nifty gainer, the stock rose over 5 per cent to Rs 141 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that the government is committed to bring natural gas into the goods and services tax regime to make prices cheaper and uniform across the country.
ONGC, Hindalco, State Bank of India, Tech Mahindra, Tata Steel, Infosys, Indian Oil, JSW Steel, Asian Paints, Wipro and HCL Technologies also rose between 1-3.6 per cent.
On the flipside, ICICI Bank, Mahindra & Mahindra, Bajaj Finance, HDFC, Nestle India, Titan Company, Tata Motors, Larsen & Toubro and Grasim Industries fell between 0.4-11.5 per cent.