Sensex, Nifty end flat; Bharti, tech gain, Jet crashes

Equity benchmarks ended lower Friday, the fourth successive weekly loss as traders and investors refrained from major commitments ahead of the Budget. Dealers said Thursday's bruising fall has once again dented confidence, but on the positive side, the market is now beginning to look oversold.

The Sensex closed at 19317.01, down 8.35 points over the previous close and the Nifty closed at 5850.30, down 1.95 points.

Brokers said leveraged positions in the market have reduced considerably in the last few weeks, laying the ground for a possible rally if the Budget has some positive surprises in store.

Jet Airways topped the list of losers, shedding around 6 percent to close at Rs 527 following a report in the Business Standard that the stake sale to Etihad Airways could be delayed further because of certain demands made by Etihad.

It is a flat Friday for Indian market with the Nifty hovering above 5850. Technology saw some buying even as FMCG, autos, select commodities and capital goods dragged.

The Sensex was up 28.36 points at 19353.72 while the Nifty gained 7.60 points or 0.13% to be at 5859.85.

Top gainers on the Sensex were Bharti Airtel (up 4.2%), Wipro (up 3%) and Sun Pharma (up 2%). DLF continued to see investors' interest as it added 3.6%.

On the losing side were HDFC, HUL, ITC and Tata Motors. Jet was also down 4% as fresh hurdles emerge with Etihad putting out a host of conditions including an option to buy upto 49% stake in the company, its representation on the board and operational control. Also Jet Airways engineers are on a "go-slow" mode following the failure of talks over wage hike and arrears.

HDFC was down nearly 3% after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to a sell and cut its target to Rs 740.

Globally, it was a flat to negative session across Asia. In other asset classes, the euro was hovering around 1.32, while the dollar index is firm above 81. In commodities, brent crude is weak around USD 114.

Market appeared stable the late morning trade, supported by IT, oil & gas and a rebound in ICICI Bank which had a massive fall on Thursday. HDFC, which was downgraded to sell from neutral, fell 2.4 percentage points. Goldman also downgraded its target price to Rs 740 from Rs 790. Its twin HDFC Bank too was down close to a percentage points.

The IT pack took a lot of load off the indices with Wipro gaining 2 percent, Infosys rising 1.29 percent and TCS moving 0.5 percent.Mahindra Satyam and HCL Tech rose 1.36 percent and 0.86 percent respectively.

Bharti Airtel swelled 2.6 percent and was the top gainer on the indices. Other gainers include, Sun Pharma, Reliance Industries, ONGC and DLF -- all up in the 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent range.
 
Despite this, Nifty failed to move up to 5900. At 11.20 AM, the Sensex was up 12.17 points at 19337.53, and the Nifty was up 0.20 points at 5852.45.

After the large slide Thursday, Indian stocks opened with marginal gains, aided by oil & gas, pharma and power stocks. India had witnessed one of the worst closing in seven months when the 30-share BSE Sensex crashed 317 points and the 50-stock NSE Nifty relinquished 5800 decisively. The cautious move in market also reflects US sentiment, where stocks fell for a second straight day and the S&P 500 posted its worst two-day loss since November. Recent reports suggest that the health of the US and euro-zone economies were far from sound.

At 09.23 AM, the Sensex was up 21.27 points at 19346.63, and the Nifty inched 3.05 points on the upside to trade at 5855.30.

GAIL and ONGC were up 1 percent, while Reliance and IOC were gained more than  half a percent. In the pharma space, Sun Pharma and Cipla moved up 1 percent helping the indices to stay in the green zone.

Realty major DLF too appreacited (1.5 percent), and so were power stocks like power Grid and Tata Power.

Banks, however, remained down for the second consecutive day. HDFC fell 1.15 percent after Goldman Sachs cut its rating to sell from neutral on expectations that India's economy would recover at a "modest" pace and the prospect of rising competition.

Breadth in the midcap segment had improved with more advances than declines. JK Cement moved up 6.7 percent after the sector saw reasonable price hikes across India. Jet Airways fell 3.35 percent on news the Jet-Etihad deal has been struck by fresh woes.