Mumbai: Market benchmark Sensex ended lower today after giving up its early gain of over 265 points on fag-end selling in healthcare and realty stocks, while other emerging markets perked up after the US Federal Reserve maintained a status quo on policy rate.
However, the NSE Nifty managed to eke out a small gain and closed above the crucial 7,500-mark.
Though the first half was upbeat, tracking global peers on Fed's dovish stance, things changed dramatically later as profit-booking emerged, capping broader advances.
"Federal Open Market Committee has signaled that future rate hikes will be on the low gear, indicating only two rate hikes in CY16 due to tepid global growth. This is positive for emerging markets to attract foreign funds," said Vinod Nair, Head-Fundamental Research at Geojit BNP Paribas.
Market has remained buoyant since the Budget on widespread expectations that RBI would reciprocate the government's commitment to fiscal prudence with a rate cut sooner than later after a survey showed that services sector activity fell to a three-month low amid muted growth in new orders.
"Now the ball is in RBI's court, since the domestic data like inflation and fiscal deficit are at a comfort level," Nair added.
Sensex started-off on a strong foot and advanced further to hit a high of 24,948.30 points, however, on selling in bluechips like healthcare, it slipped into the negative zone to a low of 24,576.52, before settling 5.11 points or 0.02 percent lower at 24,677.37.
The NSE Nifty continued its upward journey and gained 13.80 points or 0.18 percent to end at 7,512.55.
Shares of pharma companies led by Lupin, Cipla, Dr Reddy's and Sun Pharma came under selling pressure towards the fag-end of session, falling by up to 4.23 percent.
On the other hand, state-owned oil marketing companies hogged the limelight by surging 6 percent after Indian Oil Corporation announced an increase in petro and diesel prices.
BpercentL went up by 5.67 percent to 862.65, HpercentL gained 3.28 percent to Rs 758.35 and IOC climbed 2.64 percent to Rs 398.75.
Meanwhile, foreign investors bought shares worth Rs 625.58 crore yesterday as per provisional data.
Globally, other Asian markets depicted a mixed trend with Hong Kong's Hang Seng ending 1.21 percent higher while Nikkei fell 0.22 percent. Shanghai ended 1.20 percent higher.
Europe too failed to maintain initial higher levels and were trading lower in afternoon deals.
Back home, of the 30-share Sensex pack, 17 scrips ended higher while 13 finished lower.
Major gainers were BHEL (4.23 percent), GAIL (4.04 percent), Adani Ports (3.09 percent), ONGC (2.95 percent), L&T (0.93 percent), Bajaj Auto (0.90 percent), Axis Bank (0.87 percent), TCS (0.81 percent), Hero MotoCorp (0.77 percent) and Infosys (0.71 percent).
However, Lupin dropped by 4.23 percent followed by Cipla 1.54 percent, HDFC 1.44 percent, HDFC Bank 1.25 percent, M&M 1.15 percent, Tata Steel 1.14 percent, Dr Reddy's 1.07 percent and Sun Pharma 1.01 percent.
Among BSE sectoral and industry indices, oil&gas rose by 2.26 percent, capital goods 1.08 percent, IT by 0.88 percent, teck by 0.88 percent and telecom 0.77 percent while healthcare dropped by 1.24 percent, realty 0.94 percent and auto 0.19 percent.
The market breadth remained negative as 1,309 shares ended lower, 1,303 closed higher while 183 ruled steady.
The total turnover rose to Rs 2,627.87 crore from Rs 2,249.88 crore yesterday.