Mumbai: Stocks ended marginally lower as investor played cautiously in absence of any big trigger ahead of the upcoming long weekend. At the end of the day, there was barely any movement in both Sensex and Nifty compared to their previous close, but the bias turned negative.

The restraint on part of investors was chiefly because of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) minutes of its December policy meeting, which showed that some members were concerned about rising oil prices, its inflationary impact and possibility of fiscal slippage.

“Market showed signs of consolidation due to lack of fresh triggers to cross the next resistance while RBI’s cautious view on slow pace in economic recovery and inflation impacted sentiment. Construction companies rallied owing to expectation of improvement in execution in H2 FY18 and growth in order booking led by the government’s programme to boost infrastructure growth," said Vinod Nair, head of research, Geojit Financial Services.

The day’s movement was one of many ups and downs, but in the end, the 30-share BSE index stood at 33,756.28, down 21.10 points, or 0.06%. Auto, banking, FMCG and oil and gas lay low. The gauge had lost 59 points in the previous session. The NSE Nifty traded water at 10,440.30, easing only 3.90 points, or 0.04%.

Indian bond prices fell to their lowest in nearly 1-1/2 years on the RBI minutes. The rupee’s weakness against the dollar weighed heavy, too. Participants were not in a mood to go for big bets in view of the approaching Christmas and the year-end.

Asian and European stocks were not too enthusiastic about the passage of the sweeping US tax cut legislation and fell. The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady despite growing signs of strength in the economy.

While foreign portfolio investors net sold shares worth Rs1,505.04 crore on Wednesday, domestic institutional investors bought equities to the tune of Rs146.17 crore.

M&M hit a bump, losing the most by 3.74%. Maruti Suzuki, HUL, Bajaj Auto and Axis Bank slumped by up to 1.11%. Reliance Infrastructure dropped as much as 8.12% after the company signed an agreement to sell its Mumbai power business to Adani Transmission for a total consideration of Rs18,800 crore.

L&T, Tata Steel and Hero MotoCorp advanced. Shares of companies linked to the 2G spectrum case surged up to 20% after a special court acquitted all the accused. D B Realty surged 19.89%, Unitech 11.86%, Reliance Communications 4.05% and Sun TV Network 4.51% on the BSE.

Auto index dropped, along with banking, FMCG, oil and gas. Investors were seen shifting their focus towards broader markets as small-cap and mid-cap indices saw a record high, with a gain of 1.11% and 0.77%, respectively.