Sensex closes dull, broader markets too muted

The Bombay Stock Exchange benchmark index Sensex, which shuttled between gains and losses throughout the session, closed lower by 17.92 to 19,584.31. The gauge had touched the day's high of 19,697.49 and a low of 19,531.34 points.

Similarly, the broad-based National Stock Exchange's Nifty moved between 5,906.60 and 5,857.00, before ending lower by 10.20 points at 5,874.50. The most-heaviest on the Sensex and trend setter Reliance Industries fell Rs 30.85 to Rs 1,009.10, a steepest decline since March 18, after its fourth-quarter earnings -- announced after last week's close -- missed market expectations.

The market also remained directionless and moved in a narrow range following closure of leading global stock markets and banks on account of 'Easter Monday.' However, the falling trend was checked as banking stocks led by State Bank of India rallied after it was upgraded by JPMorgan Chase to "overweight" from "neutral".

The SBI rose Rs 59 to Rs 2,919.35. Dhanlaxmi Bank gained Rs 1.40 to Rs 132.05 after reporting strong profit for Q4. Indian Bank advanced Rs 7.90 to Rs 247.05 after its profit in the fourth quarter rose.

Among sectoral indices, oil and gas, realty and power sectors declined, while consumer durables, IT, Teck, capital goods and metal ended with gains. As the buying interest shifted to low value stocks for a safe hedge, smallcap index rose by 0.24 per cent to 8,899.90 and midcap index by 0.09 per cent to 7,241.58.

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