Indices close flat after volatile session

The day after the big fall, markets opened in the positive but made most traders nervous by turning volatile soon after. After holding on to gains for half-an-hour the indices fell suddenly and lost over three-quarters-of-a-per cent before noon.

The recovery from the day's lows was slow and steady with alternate bouts of buying and selling. Helped by select frontline stocks, the indices surged in afternoon trades. Both the Sensex and Nifty gained almost three-quarters-of- a-per cent each from yesterday's closing levels before selling emerged and dragged the markets down.

The indices slipped in and out of red in the last half-an-hour as traders remained undecided about market direction and most positions were wound up ahead of the weekend.

Sensex closed at 8222, a gain of just 1 point, and the Nifty at 2478, higher by a point. Nifty September futures closed at a discount of 3 points to the spot index.

The recovery was led by Hindustan Lever and Tata Motors. HLL opened firm and maintained its uptrend throughout the session. The stock was trading with gains of over 4 per cent in afternoon trades before giving up part of the gains in closing trades. Tata Motors also rallied strongly and was trading more than 3 per cent higher by afternoon. News of a possible tie-up with Fiat invigorated the stock.

Zee Tele recovered from its steep fall yesterday and closed with gains of more than 5 per cent. Grasim and Bharti also recovered from yesterday's decline.