Sensex closes flat at 16994

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Investors shifting focus to mid-cap, small-cap companies

MUMBAI: Stock markets on Friday closed flat after a volatile trading session, with benchmark Sensex closing a higher by a marginal 23 points as investors booked profits, mainly in blue-chip energy and IT shares.

The Bombay Stock Exchange's 30-share Sensex ended the day at 16994.49, up 22.79 points after a volatile trade amid positive global trends.

The National Stock Exchange's 50-share key index Nifty settled at 5,088 points with an 8.45-point gain.

The key index had gained nearly 5 per cent after the Budget 2010-11 which had buoyed investor sentiment.

Marketmen said investors are shifting focus to mid-cap and small-cap companies. “Investors are mainly booking profits in Sensex companies and flocking towards mid-cap and small-cap companies to make money,” Nirmal Bang Technical Analyst Michael Pillai said.

Realty shares remained in limelight for the second day on Friday, led by DLF which topped the list of Sensex gainers at 3.97 per cent. Auto major Hero Honda also notched up an impressive 3.41 per cent. Telecom leader Bharti Airtel was another notable gainer at 1.86 per cent.

Banking stocks attracted buying after they hiked lending rates. IT stocks too managed to come out of selling pressure they were in on Thursday. Two largest software exporters Infosys and TCS gained less than one per cent each, while Wipro ended up losing close to one per cent. Reliance Industries and Tata Motors were significant losers. “The undercurrent of the market remains bullish after the expected surprise in the Union Budget. Till the concerns from global quarters are addressed, market will show hesitant movement,” L&T Mutual Fund CEO Sanjay Sinha said. Global markets surged on optimism ahead of a key U.S. jobs report and as China said it would target economic growth of 8 per cent this year.

Rupee rises further

The rupee on Friday closed at a two-month high of 45.60/61 against the U.S. dollar, extending the gains for the fifth straight day. It closed at 45.81/82 on Thursday.

At the interbank foreign exchange market, the rupee touched a low of 45.81 before concluding at the day's high level of 45.60/61, a level not seen since January 11 when it closed at 45.33/34.

Meanwhile, global crude oil prices were trading towards $81 a barrel in London on Friday.

The Reserve Bank of India fixed the reference rate for the dollar at Rs. 45.78 and for euro at Rs. 62.15. — PTI



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