Benchmark indices closed marginally higher amid volatility during the afternoon on Thursday, ahead of the weekly F&O expiry.

Market opened on a positive note amid mixed global cues and rising inflation worries. Indices closed in the green at the end of a lucklustre, volatile session, led by metals and pharma stocks and a recovery in auto stocks. Losses in heavyweights such as HDFC Bank dragged indices.

The BSE Sensex closed at 61,235.30, up 85.26 points or 0.14 per cent. It recorded an intraday high of 61,348.57 and a low of 60,949.81. The Nifty 50 closed at 18,257.80, up 45.45 points or 0.25 per cent. It recorded an intraday high of 18,272.25 and a low of 18,163.80.

Breadth remains positive

The market breadth remained positive with 1,737 stocks advancing on the BSE as against 1,681 that declined while 81 remained unchanged. Furthermore, 430 stocks hit the upper circuit as compared to the 421 stocks that were locked in the lower circuit. Besides, 411 stocks touched a 52-week high level and 8 touched a 52-week low.

Narendra Solanki, Head- Equity Research (Fundamental), Anand Rathi Shares & Stock Brokers said, “Indian markets opened flat to marginally positive despite negative Asian market peers after higher inflation reading from US and China’s bank lending declined more than expected in December.”

“During the afternoon session markets managed to trade in green albiet with a narrow range. Traders were positive, as Commerce and Industry Minister said start-ups of the country will help India transition from an assembly economy to a knowledge-based economy. Adding more relief, a private report stated that digital platforms help unlock up to 30 per cent more value for micro entrepreneurs who are associated with them by helping overcome challenges like market access and credit,” added Solanki.

Tata Steel, JSWL Steel, Sun Pharma, Coal India and L&T were the top gainers on the Nifty 50 while Wipro, Asian Paints, HCL Tech, HDFC Bank and IndusInd Bank were the top laggards. 

S Ranganathan, Head of Research at LKP securities said, “Metals stole the show in today’s trade with the Metal Index rising over 3.5% well supported by the Pharma & PSE Index. Sugar stocks were in demand on the back of Ethanol push and robust outlook in CY2022. Profit Booking was seen in select Cement & IT stocks in today’s trade.”

Metals shine

On the sectoral front, while metals pharma and oil & gas gained focus, realty and financials barring PSU Bank dragged. 

Nifty Metal was up 3.48 per cent at closing. Nifty Pharma and Nifty Healthcare Index were up 1.57 per cent and 1.39 per cent, respectively. Nifty Oil & Gas was up 0.60 per cent while Nifty PSU Bank was up 0.59 per cent.

Meanwhile, Nifty Bank and Nifty Private Bank were down 0.67 per cent and 0.61 per cent, respectively. Nifty Financial Services was down 0.39 per cent. Nifty Realy closed 0.72 per cent lower.

Broader indices

Broader indices managed to retain gains, outperforming the benchmarks.

Nifty Midcap 50 was up 0.64 per cent while Nifty Smallcap 50 was up 0.63 per cent. The S&P BSE Midcap was up 0.38 per cent while the S&P BSE Smallcap was up 0.49 per cent.

The volatility index softened 2.77 per cent to close below 17 at 16.71.