Sensex ends with modest gains; telecom, IT up, banks dip

The Sensex bounced back in today's trade and closed with marginal gains amid volatility, on the back of buying interest in technology, telecom, pharma, cement, select metal and auto stocks. Bharti Airtel was the leading counter, jumped 2.7%, as agencies told CNBC-TV18 that the company is going to buy 70% stake in Bangladesh operator Warid and deal size could be at $900 million.

Positive European cues were also supportive to the benchmark indices. However, selling in banking, FMCG and oil & gas stocks capped the gains to large extent. BHEL and SAIL were also the losers.

The markets witnessed consolidation throughout the session. Traders looked cautious today, after seeing fall of over 200 points on the Sensex on Tuesday. The 30-share Sensex closed at 16,912.77, up 35.61 points, after trading in a range of 16,777.94-16,996.12. The 50-share NSE Nifty gained 9 points, to settle at 5,042.05; it traded in a range of 5,001.80-5,067.25.

Amit Dalal of Amit Nalin Securities said this narrow range of 5,000-5,160 has become absolute cumbersome situation now for almost a fortnight or even longer for traders. He hoped that one way or the other the markets see a break up or down. He believes it will be perhaps on the up towards the end of the year.

S Naganath, President and CIO of DSP Black Rock Investment Managers said that he saw the Sensex ranged between 15,000 and 18,000 in the first half of 2010 and expects a 15-20% earnings growth in FY11.

On the global front, European markets were trading 0.6-1.2% higher and US index futures were up 0.5-0.7%, at the time of closing of Indian equities. Asian markets ended mixed; Shanghai and Hang Seng fell 0.6-0.9%. However, Nikkei, Jakarta and Straits Times gained 0.5-1.1%. Kospi was flat.