Indices close lower on profit booking

The markets opened marginally higher today morning but remained lacklustre till about early afternoon, stuck in a band. Weakness in some of the better performing stocks of last week gave the indices a negative bias throughout the morning.

A bout of buying early in the afternoon saw the indices climb back into the green as some heavy weights like ONGC, ICICI Bank and some cement and power stocks rallied.

The uptrend was short lived as the profit booking started almost immediately and the indices declined to the lows of the day.

Sensex closed at 6455, down 26 points and the Nifty at 1994, down 6 points. Nifty May futures discount to the spot index widened to 19 points from yesterday's 17 points.

Among Nifty stocks, ICICI Bank, Tata Power and ACC were the major percentage gainers while Oriental Bank of Commerce, BPCL and Tata Motors were the major losers.

US markets held on to their gains of last week as technology stocks did well ahead of results from Cisco and Dell due this week. After opening flat, the indices gained by afternoon as an increase in corporate merger activity kept the market excited. NASDAQ gained over half-a-per cent while Dow's gains were lower.