Sensex closes flat; ICICI rallies on Q4 earnings

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A benchmark index for Indian equities markets Friday closed flat amidst choppy trade. ICICI Bank emerged the top gainer after the private lender announced robust fourth quarter earnings.

The 30-scrip sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened in the positive at 17,145.39 points, closed at 17,134.25 points, up 0.02 percent or 3.58 points from its previous close at 17,130.67 points.

The Sensex had made early gains on the back of global cues like Japanese central bank’s decision to keep overnight interest rates at near zero levels and an expanded bond buying programme. However, the afternoon trade saw the benchmark in the red with negative European cues like the downgrading of Spain’s credit ratings by Standard and Poor’s.

The Sensex touched a high of 17,242.15 points led by good buying support for the ICICI Bank scrip, but failed to sustain it. The Sensex also touched a low of 17,022.09 points in the intra-day trade.

The country’s largest private sector bank ICICI Bank rallied 2.28 percent or 19.20 points at Rs.860.75 after posting a 31 percent rise in its net profit for the quarter ended March 31 at Rs.1,901.76 crore on strong loan growth and high growth in treasury income.

The wider 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange was up 0.03 percent at 5,190.60 points.

Other prominent Sensex gainers were: Hindalco, up 2.15 percent at Rs.118.80; Gail, up 1.53 percent at Rs.329.35; Infosys, up 1.36 percent at Rs.2,390.20; Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), up 1.21 percent at Rs.712.50; and TCS, up 1.13 percent at Rs.1,205.45.

Major losers included: Coal India, down 2.24 percent at Rs.351.35; SBI, down 1.55 percent at Rs.2,125.70; BHEL, down 1.47 percent at Rs.228; Bajaj Auto, down 1.43 percent at Rs.1582.55; and Jindal Steel, down 1.41 percent at Rs.481.65.

The BSE midcap index closed at 6,240.80 points, down 0.11 percent, while the small cap index fell 0.42 percent at 6,697.89 points.

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