Sensex at 7-week high level; ends 1.34 pts down

The Bombay Stock Exchange's 30-share index settled at the 7-week high level of 17,166.62 points, down 0.01 per cent or 1.34 points.

Despite the decline, the market managed to scale its highest level since January 20 as stocks rallied in early trade on expectations of good industrial production figures.
In the intra-day trade, it rose to as high as 17,244.54 a new 52-week peak, but pared some of the gains on profit booking in blue-chips like HDFC Bank, Infosys, HUL and L&T.
The National Stock Exchange's 50-share Nifty index closed 0.07 per cent or four points higher at 5,137 points.

"The good IIP figure failed to boost market sentiment and pulled it down from intra-day high level. There is very low volume which is not supporting the gains at higher end," Unicon Financial Intermediaries CEO G Nagpal said.

This is the third straight week of gain posted by the key index. The market traded in a narrow range but managed to move 172.13 points up this week.India's factory production grew 16.7 per cent in January on robust manufacturing activity, lending optimism of a faster economic recovery, which analysts said would prompt the central bank to adopt monetary tightening.

Reliance Industries, which holds the maximum weight in Sensex, moved up 0.46 per cent. Hindalco gained 3.25 per cent, Bharti Airtel was up 1.77 per cent and ICICI Bank rose 0.59 per cent.

Marketmen said investors are now eyeing the fourth quarter results of corporate houses for a direction. Till then the market would consolidate.
Mirroring the gains in the sector stocks, metal and oil & gas counter nudged ahead. However, profit booking in realty and PSU sectors limited the gains in the market.
HUL was the biggest loser in today's trade and declined 4.22 per cent. Also the 1.48 per cent dip in HDFC Bank, 0.44 per cent in Infosys pulled the market down.
Analysts said concerns of interest rate hike on the back of rising food inflation, which is hovering around the 18 per cent mark for the sixth straight week, weighed on sentiment.

"Investors are also fearing in the surging industrial production and high inflation may force the central bank to hike key interest rates," Nagpal said.
Other major losers, which narrowed the gains in the market were Sun Pharma (2.10 per cent), RCOM (2.05 per cent), BHEL (1.70 per cent) and Mahindra & Mahindra (1.14 per cent).Asian stocks continued the fifth straight week of gains. However, at the end of today's trade the Shanghai index fell 1.24 per cent and Hang Seng was down 0.09 per cent.

"Domestic market is also not finding any good cues from the global markets which are also not finding a trigger to surge," Nagpal added. 

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