The Sensex and the Nifty were trading near flat due to profit-booking by funds and retail investors amid firm European cues.
The 30-share BSE index Sensex was trading up by 24.77 points or 0.08 per cent at 29,405.50 and the 50-share NSE index Nifty was trading down by 21.35 points or 0.24 per cent at 8,901.30.
Among BSE sectoral indices, healthcare index remained investors’ favourite and was up 1.72 per cent, followed by FMCG 1.36 per cent, auto 0.35 per cent and power 0.03 per cent. On the other hand, metal index fell the most by 1.43 per cent, followed by capital goods 1.07 per cent, TECk 0.87 per cent and IT 0.81 per cent.
Top five Sensex gainers were HUL 2.97%, Sun Pharma 2.57%, Wipro 1.56%, Cipla 1.51% and M&M 1.49%, while the major losers were Hindalco 2.65%, Coal India 2.24%, TCS 1.5%, Infosys 1.23%, and Bharti Airtel 1.18%.
A report by Dhananjay Sinha of Emkay Global Financial Services said: “Inflation is expected to remain soft through H1FY16 before firming up to below 6% in H2FY16. The fiscal consolidation programme, while delayed, may compensate in quality, especially if state governments are cooperative. Given low capacity utilisation and still-weak indicators of production and credit off-take, it is appropriate for the Reserve Bank to be pre-emptive in its policy action to utilise available space for monetary accommodation.”
European stocks were set to rise on Thursday, with a batch of company results in focus ahead of the European Central bank meeting at which it is set to give further details on its massive bond-buying programme.
At 0715 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for Germany’s DAX and for France’s CAC were up 0.2-0.5 per cent.
Asian stocks slipped on Thursday after Wall Street continued to pull back from record highs ahead of Friday’s closely-watched US jobs data, while the nervous euro languished at an 11-year low prior to the European Central Bank’s policy meeting.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan shed 0.4 per cent with Australian, Malaysian and Chinese stocks posting losses.
Still, optimism stemming from widespread monetary easing supported other stock markets.
Japan’s Nikkei edged up 0.2 per cent and South Korea’s Kospi inched 0.1 per cent higher.