Nifty loses 77 pts in last hour to end flat; Bankex down 2%

The benchmark Nifty after rallying more than 77 points during the day erased all of those gains in late trade due to a sell-off in financial, telecom and select healthcare companies' shares along with ITC, L&T and Hero Honda. Profit booking could be cited as a reason behind the sell-off. The index remained below 6000 - psychologically important level, ended at 5,992.25, down just 0.55 points.

Mitesh Thacker of miteshthacker.com said now 5950 should act as a very strong support. "We will probably be in a range; 6070-6090 on the upside would act as a strong supply area while 5950 should now act as a very strong support. So I still maintain that view. My belief is that we might consolidate for next few days before taking a definitive trend."

However, buying in heavyweights Reliance Industries, Tata Motors, BHEL and NTPC along with metal and technology companies' shares was quite supportive, which helped the indices.

The 30-share BSE Sensex closed at 19,981.31, up just 14.38 points over previous closing value, after erasing 236.55 points from day's high of 20,217.86. Even the broader indices ended in red; the BSE Midcap Index was down 0.4% and Smallcap down 0.9%.

Heavyweights as well as country's largest banks like SBI and ICICI Bank were the main culprits; were down 3.86% & 2.56%, respectively. PNB tumbled 3.7% and Axis Bank was down 1.7%; IDFC fell 2.4% and HDFC Bank was down 0.5%. Kotak Mahindra Bank was down 1% while HDFC gained 1.4%.

Shares of India's largest two-wheeler maker Hero Honda were on bears' radar again as there were reports that institutional investors may oppose Honda selling stake. The stock was down 3.5%. In auto space, Bajaj Auto and M&M declined 0.6-0.9% while Tata Motors rallied 3.28% and Maruti was up 0.5%.