Sensex flat as traders take a breather after rally (Roundup)

Mumbai, Feb 16 (IANS) A benchmark index for Indian equities Thursday closed flat as traders took a breather after the three-day rally during the week and booked profits in blue-chip scrips.

The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 18,163.05 points, closed at 18,153.99 points, 48.42 points or 0.27 percent down from its previous close at 18,202.41 points.
The Sensex managed to stay above the 18,000-mark, which it breached Wednesday for the first time in six months.
The 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange similarly closed dull at 5,521.95 points, down 10 points or 0.18 percent from its previous close.
Broader markets too closed flat, with the BSE 500 index ending almost unchanged. But the BSE midcap index rose 1.04 percent while the BSE smallcap index gained 0.96 percent.
As per the sectoral indices on the BSE, power, realty and capital goods stocks were on the rise.
Overseas funds, which have been the main catalyst for the dramatic rise in Indian equities in 2012, continued with their buying spree.
According to data available with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), foreign institutional investors have put in $4.4 billion since the start of the year, having bought equities worth $2.03 billion in January and $2.37 billion till Wednesday during February.
Prominent gainers on the 30-scrip Sensex included Hero MotoCorp, up 4.57 percent at Rs.2,188.65; SBI, up 4.38 percent at Rs.2,349.05; Maruti Suzuki, up 4.1 percent at Rs.1,357.20 and Infosys, up 1.26 percent at Rs.2,903.35.
Major losers included Coal India, down 5.44 percent at Rs.321; Hindalco, down 4.71 percent at Rs.154.65; Tata Motors, down 3.67 percent at Rs.275.90 and RIL, down 2.86 percent at Rs.812.15.
The market breadth was positive with 1,640 stocks advancing, 1,292 on the decline and 112 unchanged.
Asian markets fell as investors were uneasy with the bailout package for Greece getting delayed. Indications from Euro zone countries were that they had to wait till the country held elections in April.
The Japanese Nikkei fell 0.24 percent to close at 9,238.1 points, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed 0.41 percent lower at 21,277.28 points.
The Chinese Shanghai Composite index, also shed 0.42 percent to end at 2,356.86 points.
European markets were ruling lower.
Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.61 percent at 5,856.32 points. The German DAX was trading 0.84 percent lower at 6,701.44 points.
The French CAC 40 was trading 0.38 percent down at 3,377.6 points.