Continuing its upward journey for the eighth consecutive session, market benchmark BSE Sensex ended marginally higher Wednesday, following gains in Infosys, HDFC twins and L&T amid uninterrupted capital inflows by foreign funds.
Gains were, however, capped tracking Asian shares that slipped from six-month highs after a lacklustre session as investors booked profits ahead of a policy decision by the US Federal Reserve, experts said.
The 30-share index began the session on a firm note at 38,433.86 and hit the session's high of 38,489.81 on steady inflow of buying by foreign funds as well as retail investors.
However, after the emergence of profit-booking and losses in select heavyweight stocks, the index turned negative and hit a low of 38,316.21 before returning in positive terrain to close the day higher by 23.28 points, or 0.06 per cent, to 38,386.75.
The barometer had rallied about 1,500 points in the previous seven sessions.
The broader NSE Nifty, however, ended 11.35 points, or 0.10 per cent, lower at 11,521.05 after shuttling between 11,556.10 and 11,503.10 during the session on expiry of March series derivative contracts.
The market will remain closed Thursday on account of Holi.
Infosys was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, rising 2.36 per cent, followed by HDFC Bank up 1.39 per cent.
Other gainers included Yes Bank, 1.27 per cent, L&T 1.19 per cent, Sun Pharma 1.07 per cent, HDFC 0.98 per cent, Vedanta 0.84 per cent, SBI 0.23 per cent, HCL Tech 0.23 per cent, Kotak Bank 0.20 per cent, Asian Paints 0.07 per cent and RIL 0.03 per cent.
Among laggards, NTPC suffered the most, cracking 4.29 per cent and ONGC plunged 3.28 per cent.
Other losers were Coal India, Tata Steel, Maruti Suzuki, Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Auto, Tata Motors, ICICI Bank, M&M, Bharti Airtel, Axis Bank, HUL, IndusInd Bank, PowerGrid, TCS, ITC Ltd and Hero MotoCorp, falling up to 2.43 per cent.
Stocks of oil marketing companies like BPCL, HPCL and IOC, however, faced selling pressure and lost up to 5.32 per cent after global crude prices soared.
Sector-wise, the BSE realty index gained the most by rising 2.21 per cent, followed by IT index up 0.93 per cent, teck index 0.55 per cent, capital goods 0.48 per cent, healthcare 0.08 per cent and consumer durables 0.02 per cent.
However, oil and gas index emerged worst performer by falling 2.26 per cent and PSU index lost 1.75 per cent. Power, metal, auto, FMCG and banking indices too ended in the red.
The broader markets ended in a negative terrain with the BSE mid-cap index falling 0.38 per cent and small-cap index shedding 0.33 per cent.
Shares of Reliance Communications further zoomed 10 per cent to hit the highest trading permissible limit for the second day in a row Wednesday after the company cleared dues of Swedish service provider Ericsson.
The scrip rose sharply by 10 per cent to Rs 4.84 -- its upper circuit limit -- on the BSE.
Stocks of software exporters were centre of brisk activity after the rupee slipped below the 69 mark against the dollar. Software exporters' majority of revenues come in dollar.
"Global stocks were mixed as investors remained on the sidelines ahead of the Federal Reserve policy meet," said Sunil Sharma, Chief Investment Officer, Sanctum Wealth Management, adding that data suggests that the strength in foreign investment flows has overwhelmed significant amounts of domestic selling, and FIIs have now taken back control of the market from domestic investors.
"We have witnessed an 8.6 per cent return off the lows in February, which makes the current market rise the sharpest since March 2016.
"Heading into a holiday-shortened week, traders likely took money off the table. The Indian rupee recovered marginally to 68.83 to retain the top spot as the best performing emerging market currency over the last one month," he said.
On a net basis, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) bought shares worth Rs 2,132.36 crore Tuesday, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) sold shares worth Rs 1,253.67 crore, provisional data showed.
Most Asian markets ended lower, and European shares were also weak form in early deals.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.31 per cent, Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.01 per cent, Korea's Kospi fell 0.02 per cent, while Japan's Nikkei ended 0.20 per cent higher.
In Europe, Frankfurt's DAX fell 0.87 per cent, and Paris CAC 40 shed 0.05 per cent. London's FTSE was down 0.01 per cent.