The market moved back and forth many a time on Thursday, but ultimately shaped up in nick of time to close with paltry gains as investors waited for the state election results.
The final tally will be announced on Saturday, with the exit poll findings slated for Thursday.
The level of caution is also because of the growing buzz that the US interest rate is set to go up next week, which if it happens will trigger capital outflow from India and other emerging markets.
The 30-share Sensex slipped into the negative zone after a higher start, but buying in the last one hour of trade meant it ended up 27.19 points, or 0.09 per cent, at 28,929.13. The gauge had lost lost 146.25 points.
“Markets have been trading very cautiously in the past few sessions as participants are keeping their fingers crossed ahead of the exit poll results for the Assembly elections,” said Deepak Pahwa, a Delhi-based broker.
The 50-issue NSE Nifty was range bound and settled up 2.70 points or 0.03 per cent at 8,927.
The overall recovery received some support from auto, banking, consumer durables and IT stocks, which recouped their losses to an extent.
Broader markets, however, failed to maintain their gains following profit-booking by participants, pulling down the BSE mid-cap and small-cap indices down.
Maruti Suzuki led from the front, with a gain of 1.67 per cent, followed by SBI. Other gainers that helped the key indices end in the green included Axis Bank, Tata Motors, Asian Paints and Sun Pharma.
Dr Reddy’s was the worst performer by plummeting 5.01 per cent to Rs 2,708.60, its 52-week low, after the company received 13 observations from the US health regulator.
Meanwhile, shares worth over Rs 50,000 crore of Reliance Industries today changed hands at BSE, days after the company announced major shareholding rejig among its promoter group entities. RIl share slipped below the Rs 1,300-mark by falling 0.35 per cent.
The BSE auto index out up a good show, followed by consumer durables, bank, IT and technology.
Other Asian bourses were mixed while European markets were trading in negative zone in their early session as investors await the outcome of the ECB’s latest policy meeting on interest rates and stimulus.
Meanwhile, foreign funds bought shares net Rs 3,573.04 crores yesterday, as per the provisional figures.