Sensex signs off 2012 with 26% rise, ends flat on last day

Equity benchmarks closed the last trading day of the year 2012 on a quiet note. The Nifty had shut shop 3.25 points or 0.06% lower at 5905.10 level and the Sensex closed down 18.13 points or 0.09% at 19426.71. Experts say investors are looking at a stable 2013. The year 2012 proved lucrative to the stock market with Sensex appreciating 26 percent or 4000 points.

The market had opened on a slight negative note at 5901 and stuck to a narrow trading range of 5895-5915 throughout the day. Volumes too remained low at Rs 79000 crore. Top gainers on the Sensex were GAIL, Tata Power, Hindalco and Wipro; while top losers included names like TCS and ITC and Cipla. Auto sector stocks like M&M and Tata Motors rose after a few banks resorted to rate cuts, raising hopes that loans will get cheaper. However, profit booking was witnessed in Bajaj Auto and Maruti.

Among the banking stocks, PNB was the top performer registering 3.3% gains. SBI, HDFC Bank, BoB also made upmoves, albeit marginal.

Among the major sectoral indices, Realty sector was the top performer gaining 0.88%, followed by PSU sector, Consumer Durables and Power. Capital Goods and FMCG were the top losers. In the broader markets, Gati, South Indian Bank and IndiaBulls had a good run while Suzlon, Kingfisher, Rama Newsprint and Tulip Tele had a bad end to the year.

The NSE benchmark continued to hover around the 5900 level since early trade. Traders remained cautious as there is still not anything concrete from the US.

The 30-share BSE Sensex fell 15.30 points to 19,429.54 while the 50-share NSE Nifty declined 5.5 points to 5,902.85.

Software services exporter Wipro rose 1.5 percent as the shareholders at the court convened meeting held on December 28 have approved the scheme of arrangement between Wipro Limited (demerged company), Azim Premji Custodial Services Private Limited and Wipro Trademarks Holding Limited.

Commercial vehicle major Tata Motors climbed nearly 1 percent ahead of December sales numbers that will be announced tomorrow.

Among metals stocks, Jindal Steel and Hindalco were up nearly 1 percent while Tata Steel and Sterlite were marginally higher.

FMCG major Hindustan Unilever moved up 0.92 percent whereas cigarette major ITC was down 0.7 percent.

Shares of HDFC, ICICI Bank, Larsen & Toubro, HDFC Bank and Bharti Airtel remained under pressure since morning trade, losing 0.2-0.6 percent.

 Meanwhile, the broader markets outperformed benchmarks; the BSE Midcap Index was up 0.2 percent and Smallcap gained 0.4 percent.

In the second line shares, Gitanjali Gems, South Indian Bank, Indiabulls Financial, Blue Dart and TTK Prestige rallied 3-5 percent.

European markets too were marginally down after US lawmakers pushed the country to the edge of the "fiscal cliff" on Sunday as they struggled to reach a last-minute deal.

Key equity benchmarks were subdued in noon trade amid low volumes as a holiday mood prevailed. Brokers said investors are now awaiting cues from the global markets as US lawmakers are yet to resolve the problem of the 'fiscal cliff' in that country.

The Sensex was down 32 points at 19412, and the Nifty down 10 points at 5898.

A resolution of US's fiscal problem is expected to boost sentiment in financial markets across the globe, which could rub off on Indian equities as well.

Key laggards included GMDC, United Breweries, Madras Cements and Suzlon Energy, which were down 2-3 percent.

Gainers included Punjab National Bank, DLF, Gitanjali Gems and Hindustan Copper, up around 2-3 percent.

And while foreign funds have been quite strong since the second half of the calendar, brokers caution the macro-economic picture still not point to a recovery soon. This in turn could make fund managers wary of investing at higher levels and restrict further upside in the market.

''We are getting increasingly concerned about the market's expectations of strong volume recovery and similar assumptions in our earnings model for several sectors in FY2014,'' said a note by brokerage house Kotak Securities.

''Recent on-the-ground research of our team (discussions with dealers of consumer goods, automobiles), disclosures on order bookings by certain companies and monthly sales data do not provide any evidence of recovery. In fact, certain data points indicate further slowing of the economy,'' the note added.

In sectorwise trends, shares of realty, metal and auto companies were faring well, while shares of FMCG and IT companies were lagging.

The BSE Sensex gains 0.1 percent while the Nifty is up 0.01 percent. Market is expected to remain volatile until U.S. lawmakers reach a deal on tax-hike threshold and spending cuts, a positive outcome could drive shares in the near term.

Reliance Industries Ltd up 0.8 percent extending its Friday's gains on value buying.

Wipro Ltd shares gain 1.3 percent after the company said the shareholders have approved its demerger plan after a meeting on Friday.

Key benchmarks were flat in early trade on Monday following mixed Asian cues. Shanghai and Nikkei gained around 0.7-1 percent whereas Hang Seng was flat to negative.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was up 20.15 points at 19,464.97.

Meanwhile, the Nifty remained above the 5900 despite one percent fall in US markets on Friday due to concerns over fiscal cliff deal. The index rose 3.5 points to 5,911.80.

Index heavyweight Reliance Industries gained another 0.9 percent following Friday's gains.

Software services exporter Wipro topped the buying list, rising 1.6 percent whereas its rivals TCS and Infosys were marginally down.

Auto stocks like Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto, Mahindra and Mahindra, Hero Motocorp and Maruti were up 0.4 percent ahead of monthly sales numbers tomorrow.

However, cigarette major ITC fell 0.7 percent. Private sector lenders ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank too were under pressure with marginall losses.

In the second line shares, Shriram Transport Finance was up 2 percent as The Economic Times reported that Piramal Group is in advanced talks to buy TPG's 20.27 percent stake in the company.

Suzlon Energy lost 1.5 percent on profit booking while Piramal Life Sciences surged 4 percent.

Pipavav Defence gained 2 percent on receiving order worth Rs 400 crore from ONGC.

Chettinad Cement rallied 4 percent on delisting offer.

Nifty futures on the Singapore Exchange falls 0.1 percent. The MSCI-Asia Pacific index, excluding Japan is flat.

U.S. lawmakers pushed the country to the edge of the "fiscal cliff" on Sunday as they struggled to reach a last-minute deal.

The pace of activity in China's vast manufacturing sector hit its fastest rate in December since May 2011, the HSBC survey of private factory managers showed.

Traders await India's current account data for July-September due later in the day amid concerns it will show a record high deficit, leading to a negative balance of payments.