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The Indian benchmark indices - Nifty, Sensex - opened higher in the morning but as the day progressed pared those gains to end the day flat with positive bias as investors remained on the fence.

The S&P BSE Sensex closed at 60,978.75, up 37.08 points, 0.06%, while NSE Nifty50 ended at 18,118.30.

“The Nifty had a gap up opening on January 24 and crossed the swing high of 18,184, however couldn’t sustain in the higher territory. The hourly upper Bollinger Band has become flat & is keeping pressure on the higher side. As a result, the Nifty stayed back into the brief consolidation mode. It is forming a base near the key hourly & the daily moving averages," said Gaurav Ratnaparkhi, Head of Technical Research, Sharekhan by BNP Paribas.

"On the daily chart, the index is forming higher top higher bottom & is expected to see upward trajectory. In the short term, the Nifty is expected to surpass the key hurdle zone of 18,260-18,300 & head towards 18,500. On the other hand, the level of 18,000 will provide cushion on the downside," he added.

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Top gainers on Sensex were Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki, HCL Technologies and HDFC Bank. On the other hand, Axis Bank, PowerGrid, Tata Steel and Kotak Bank were major losers on the index.

Among sectoral indices, Nifty Auto, IT and consumer durable indices gained, while PSU bank, metal and pharma indices were in the red.

BSE mid-cap and small-cap indices also ended lower.

Only 1,534 stocks advanced, while 1,970 declined out 3,650 stocks that traded on BSE.

Number of stocks at 52-week low: 75

European stocks edged higher, boosted by a fresh run of gains for technology stocks, while investors awaited economic data that is expected to show a slight improvement in euro zone business activity.

“Domestic equities saw volatility ahead of F&O monthly expiry. Nifty opened positive in line with global peers but soon gave up its early gains amid selling pressure in select heavyweights and banking sector stocks. Rally in NASDAQ uplifted technology led stocks, while Auto sector saw a run up on the back of healthy results announced by Maruti. Market is likely to continue its range bound movement ahead of release of US GDP data on Thursday, which would set the tone for the upcoming US Fed meeting on February 1," said Siddhartha Khemka, Head - Retail Research, Motilal Oswal Financial Services.

“This along with Union Budget on the same day would provide some direction, until then the market would take cues from the quarterly earnings. Auto sector would remain in focus, as TVS would announce its results late today followed by Tata Motors and Bajaj Auto tomorrow (Wednesday). Pharma heavyweights Cipla, Dr Reddy and Torrent Pharma would be coming out with their results tomorrow so the sector could see some action."

 

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