Mumbai: The stock market on Thursday moved without a clear direction, but some signs of revival in corporate earnings meant the benchmark Sensex wiped out early losses to end with a paltry gain of 79 points.
Investors placed bets to cover their short positions on a day when October derivatives contracts expired, which aided the upmove. Better-than-expected earnings by Maruti Suzuki and Hero MotoCorp gave some hope too.
The broader NSE Nifty, however, ended flat at 8,615.25 points.
"Short covering on the expiry day and some green shoots today in earnings lifted the market from the day's low. The prolonged concern over bank NPA issues and broad sets of weak earnings has capped the possibility of resurgence in the market direction," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services.
The Sensex closed up 79.39 points, or 0.29 percent, at 27,915.90 after hitting the day's high of 27,958.13. The 30-share gauge had lost 342.57 points in the past two sessions.
At the close, the 50-share NSE Nifty was flat at 8,615.25 after shuttling between 8,624.85 and 8,550.25.
Moreover, pick-up in rollover of positions by participants to November series too influenced sentiment. The recovery came on top of buying in FMCG, healthcare, banking and oil and gas stocks.
Broader markets, however, stayed in the negative terrain, with the mid-cap index and small-cap falling 1.04 and 0.77 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 1,450.65 crore yesterday, showed provisional data.
Shares of country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki fell 0.21 percent after the company posted 60.18 percent growth in net profit at Rs 2,398 crore for the September quarter.
Hero MotoCorp fell 3.12 percent even as the company yesterday reported a 27.74 percent increase in net profit for the second quarter.
Tata group stocks, including Tata Motors and Tata Steel, continued to reel under pressure and fell by up to 1.44 percent amid concerns about purported disclosure made by ousted group chairman Cyrus Mistry about huge write-down risks at some firms.
Tata Chemicals and Tata Power were down by 1.98 and 1.36 percent each while Tata Global Beverages fell over 5 percent. Indian Hotels and Tata Tele were down by up to 9.72 percent. However, TCS, managed to close in the green, rising marginally by 0.68 percent.
The BSE FMCG index gained the most by rising 0.55 percent, followed by healthcare. Auto fell 1.36 percent, consumer durables 1.01 percent and IT 0.78 percent.
Most other Asian indices closed lower following worries over oil production. Japan's Nikkei fell 0.32 percent, Shanghai Composite Index 0.13 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng 0.83 percent.
European stocks too dropped in their early deals with London's FTSE falling 0.24 percent. Paris CAC was down 0.67 percent and Germany's DAX fell 0.35 percent.