Mumbai: The Sensex wiped off all its gains today to end in the red with a minuscule fall at 26,211 as cautious investors took profit at higher levels ahead of the monthly derivatives expiry amid a mixed trend overseas.
Besides, the rupee depreciated 18 paise intra-day against the dollar, to 68.24, which had a negative impact too. But volumes were thin during the session as most foreign investors are away on a vacation in a year-end holiday season and other participants chose not to widen their bets.
Covering-up of short positions by speculators added to the momentum at the outset, but selling to book year-end profits in the later part of the session ahead of the December derivatives expiry -- this year's last -- took away the day's gains completely.
The 30-share Sensex opened higher at 26,243.19 and advanced to hit a high of 26,415.05. But emergence of selling in the last one hour of trading pushed the benchmark into the negative zone, which settled marginally lower by 2.76 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 26,210.68.
Yesterday, the barometer had gained 406.34 points. In contrast, the 50-share NSE Nifty managed to close in the positive zone with a rise of 2 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 8,034.85. Intra-day, it hovered between 8,100.55 and 8,028.40.
Meanwhile, foreign institutional investors continued to be net sellers in the market, selling equities worth Rs 712.17 crore yesterday, as per the provisional data. Oil major Reliance Industries emerged as the top loser by plunging 1.15 per cent, followed by Tata Steel falling 1.13 per cent.
Hero MotoCorp, Tata Motors, ICICI Bank, PowerGrid and SBI fell too. Outperforming Sensex, the broader markets continued to show a positive trend as investors went about raising their bets at select counters, available at an attractive lower levels.
BSE small-cap and mid-cap ended 0.87 per cent and 0.53 per cent higher, respectively.
Elsewhere, Asian stocks ended mixed as Shanghai Composite fell 0.40 per cent and Japan's Nikkei 0.01 per cent, but Hong Kong's Hang Seng edged higher 0.83 per cent.
Europe too was in a mixed form in their late morning trade. Key indices such as Paris fell 0.03 per cent while London FTSE rose 0.23 per cent. Frankfurt rose 0.22 per cent. In the domestic market, 13 scrips ended in the red out of the 30-share Sensex pack while 17 led by Coal India, Wipro, Dr Reddy's, Lupin, M&M, ITC, Axis Bank, Adani Ports and HUL closed in the green and contained the fall.
Speaking sectorally, oil and gas fell 0.27 per cent, capital goods 0.09 per cent and metal 0.07 per cent. Healthcare rose 0.82 per cent, FMCG 0.61 per cent and IT 0.22 per cent....