Indices close lower as profit booking continues

Markets opened the day with a positive gap as if yesterday's correction was only a pause in the upward movement of the indices. After another attempt at lifetime highs, the indices declined sharply before noon.

By early afternoon the indices slipped into the red, but recovered immediately and traded within a range till the last half-hour of trade. Absence of fresh buying in the closing minutes forced traders to exit their positions, which pulled down the indices further and they closed at the day's lows.

Sensex closed at 7781, a loss of 30 points, and the Nifty at 2383, a loss of 5 points. Nifty August futures closed the day at the same level as the spot index.

Ranbaxy, Colgate and M&M were among the major gainers among Nifty stocks while Dabur, Bharti and ICICI Bank were the major losers.

US markets had a lacklustre day yesterday as worries about a slow down in consumer spending held the indices back. The cautious outlook given by most large retailers has added to the pessimism. The Dow closed with very marginal gains and the S&P 500 closed marginally lower. The NASDAQ closed the day with losses of close to half a per cent.

Crude oil futures for September delivery closed flat yesterday after the pervious day's large fall. The commodity closed at $63.27 on the NYMEX yesterday, a gain of 2 cents from the previous close. Crude is trading firm at around $64 to a barrel in early European trades today.