The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark index, Sensex, closed flat on Thursday after a highly volatile trading in which every rise was capped by profit booking at high levels ahead of an extended weekend.
Marketmen said heavyweights Bharti Airtel and ICICI Bank continued to attract good buying support amid intense profit selling by investors had cushioned any sharp fall.
Alternate bouts of selling and buying saw the BSE barometer closing higher by 7.71 points at 17134.55. The 30-share index has gained 442 points in a three-day shortened week with two holidays on Monday and Friday.
Brokers said investors preferred to book profits ahead of an extended weekend as the market would remain closed on Friday on account of Gandhi Jayanti.
The market sentiment was also affected by concerns over fall in exports, which declined for the 11th straight month in August and inflation that rose to 0.83 per cent for the week ended September 19.
Bharti Airtel, which on Wednesday said its talks for merger with South African telecom major MTN had been called off, jumped 4.01 per cent to close at Rs. 435.35. ICICI Bank rose by 2.17 per cent to Rs. 924.45, while TCS gained 2.03 per cent at Rs. 631.95. Other major gainers from the Sensex pack were Reliance Communications (3.25 per cent), Mahindra & Mahindra (1.14 per cent) and BHEL (1.07 per cent).
Rupee gains 36 paise
The rupee closed at almost two-month high of 47.74/75 against the dollar on Thursday by gaining 36 paise. It closed at 48.11 on Tuesday.
In volatile trading at the interbank foreign exchange market, the rupee moved in a range of 47.70 and 47.91 after resuming firm at 47.85/86.