Indian equity benchmarks made a smart recovery from the day's losses on Friday, but halted a winning run that lasted five consecutive trading sessions. The Bank Nifty recovered about two thirds of the day's losses, rescuing the headline indices from the red, to finish with a cut of 0.3 percent.
Among heavyweights, gains in stocks such as Infosys, TCS, HDFC Bank and L&T helped the market avoid deeper losses at the close. Losses in HDFC, Axis Bank, HUL, Asian Paints and ICICI Bank, among others, kept the indices from entering green territory.
The Sensex ended at 61,223, down 12.3 points from its previous close, and the Nifty lost 2.1 points to settle at 18,255.8. The 30-scrip index recovered 466 points from its intraday low.
Asian Paints, Axis Bank, UPL, Hindustan Unilever, ONGC, Mahindra & Mahindra and Nestle, closing around 2-3 percent lower each, were the worst hit among the 30 laggards in the Nifty50 pack.
On the other hand, Tata Consuer, Indian Oil, TCS, Infosys, Adani Ports, Larsen & Toubro and BPCL -- rising around 1-4 percent -- were the top gainers.
HDFC Bank shares ended 1.1 percent higher. The country's largest lender by market value will report its quarterly earnings on Saturday.
The Nifty IT index rose 0.6 percent for the day, as the sector remained in focus on Dalal Street as investors awaited HCL Technologies' Q3 numbers due later on Friday. TCS and Infosys rose nearly two percent each. Wipro fell 1.6 percent and Mindtree four percent.
Broader markets were a mixed bag, with the Nifty Smallcap 100 index gaining 0.8 percent. Its midcap counterpart finished flat.
From the midcap and smallcap segments, Triveni Turbine, HFCL, Jamna Auto, Solara Active and Mahindra Holidays -- rising 3-12 percent each -- were the top gainers. On the other hand, Dilip Buildcon, Aavas, Zensar, Tata Metaliks and Equitas Holdings -- falling 2-4 percent each -- were among the losers.
Around 260 stocks in the BSE 500 index -- the broadest gauge on the bourse -- closed in the green.
European share markets began Friday's session on a weak note after more Federal Reserve policymakers signalled they would start to raise rates in March to tackle inflation, sending the main US indices tumbling on Thursday.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was down 0.7 percent at the last count.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.2 percent, suggesting a positive start ahead on Wall Street.
The road ahead
The market will react to HCL Tech and HDFC Bank quarterly numbers on Monday.
"We may see further consolidation in the index. However, the bias would remain on the positive side. Participants should continue with a 'buy on dips' approach and focus on sectors that are trading in sync with the benchmark," said Ajit Mishra, VP-Research at Religare Broking.