The Indian equity benchmarks resumed their upmove after a day's pause on Friday led by gains in index heavyweights like Tata Consultancy Services, Reliance Industries, Infosys, Larsen & Toubro, UltraTech Cement and Maruti Suzuki. However, the upside was owing to weakness in HCL Technologies, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC and Tech Mahindra. For most part of the day, the benchmarks traded in a choppy manner with Sensex moving in a band of 278 points and Nifty 50 index touching an intraday high of 18,321 and low of 18,228.
The Sensex ended 86 points or 0.14 per cent higher to close at 61,309 and Nifty 50 index advanced 52 points to settle at 18,308.
"Our research suggests that 18,200-18,250 will be an important support zone for the Nifty. If the Nifty is able to sustain this level, we can expect the volatility to expand, that could lead to an upside projection till the levels of 18,550-18,600. The momentum indicators like RSI and MACD indicating a positive outlook to continue and market breadth to improve further," said Vijay Dhanotiya, senior research analyst at CapitalVia Global Research.
Cement shares witnessed buying interest after the country's largest cement maker - UltraTech Cement - reported net profit of Rs 1,708 crore in the quarter ended December 2021, marking an increase of 8 per cent from the same period last year. Its revenue from operations advanced 6 per cent annually to Rs 12,985 crore. Its Profit before interest, depreciation and tax (PBIDT), however, declined 26 per cent to Rs 2,490 crore.
Nine of 15 sector gauges compiled by the National Stock Exchange ended higher led by the Nifty Auto index's over 2 per cent gain. Nifty Realty, Media, FMCG, Consumer Durables and Oil & Gas indices also rose between 0.4-1.3 per cent.
On the other hand, Pharma, Banking, Healthcare and Financial Services shares witnessed a mild selling pressure.
Mid- and small-cap shares witnessed buying interest as Nifty Midcap 100 index rose 0.2 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index advanced 0.6 per cent.
Hero MotoCorp was top Nifty gainer, the stock rose 5 per cent to Rs 2,701. Grasim Industries, ONGC, Tata Motors, UltraTech Cement, JSW Steel, Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra, SBI Life and Bajaj Auto also rose between 1.6-3.5 per cent.
On the flipside, HCL Technologies dropped 6 per cent to close at Rs 1,260 after market participants raised concerns about its margins as margins were flat at 19 per cent in December quarter versus 19.1 per cent in the previous quarter, Devang Bhat, IT analyst at IDBI Capital told Outlook India over phone.
HDFC Bank fell 1.4 per cent after it reported December quarter earnings over the weekend.
Cipla, Axis Bank, Britannia Industries, Tech Mahindra, Power Grid, Coal India, Sun Pharma, HDFC, Nestle India and Dr Reddy's Labs were also among the losers in the Nifty 50 basket of shares.
The overall market breadth was positive as 2,297 shares ended higher while 1,305 closed lower on the BSE.