After scaling a fresh closing high levels in the previous session, Indian equity markets re-entered the consolidation mode as benchmarks gyrating in a thin band for the entire trading session, settled flat, albeit with a minor losses amid weak global cues. The key gauges displayed listless performance through the day as the aimless benchmarks appeared exhausted, lacking any significant upside triggers. Though, the psychological 7,400 (Nifty) and 24,800 (Sensex) levels proved as strong supports as the key gauges managed to settle above those levels by the end. Sentiments remained down-beat on report which showed that India has slipped to its lowest position in over a decade in the foreign direct investment confidence index. Traders also remained on sidelines ahead of Finance Minister’s pre-Budget talks with apex industry chambers and trade sector representatives on Friday.

However, losses remained capped on report that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) bought shares worth a net Rs 575.09 crore on June 3, 2014, as per provisional data from the stock exchanges. On macro-economic front, showing some signs of recovery and stabilization, the activity in Indian services sector, which represent around 60% of Indian GDP, increased in the month of May on the back of rise in new orders. The HSBC services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), based on the survey of around 350 private service sector companies rose to 50.2 in May from 48.5 in the previous month, above 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.

Global cues remained somber with Asian markets ending mostly in the red after two days of healthy gains, while investors also took their lead from Wall Street’s retreat from record highs. Meanwhile, European counterparts made sluggish start on Wednesday with investors awaiting confirmation of new stimulus from the European Central Bank and a crucial U.S. jobs report.

Back home, selling in software and technology counters too dampened the sentiments. Stocks like TCS, Wipro, Infosys, HCL Technologies, Tech Mahindra etc. edged lower after rupee rebounded from its early lows and was trading higher at 59.33 at the time of equity markets closing versus its previous close of 59.38 on Tuesday. On the flip side, shares in insurance companies surged on hopes that the new government may raise foreign direct investment limit in the sector to 49 percent from 26 percent. Additionally, stocks related to tyre industry viz. Ceat India, Dunlop India, JK Tyre and Industries edged higher after the key Tokyo Commodity Exchange rubber contract touched a five-week low, weighed down partly by weak Chinese service sector data. The rubber prices fell approximately 30% in 2014 and hit five-year lows.

The NSE’s 50-share broadly followed index Nifty dropped by just over ten points but managed to hold its psychological 7,400 support level, while Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensitive Index — Sensex declined by over fifty points to end below its crucial 24,850 mark. The broader markets, however, outperformed benchmarks and ended the session with a gain of around two percentage points. The market breadth remained in favour of advances, as there were 2,127 shares on the gaining side against 921 shares on the losing side while 97 shares remain unchanged.

Finally, the BSE Sensex declined by 52.76 points or 0.21%, to 24805.83, while the CNX Nifty was down by 13.60 points or 0.18%, to 7,402.25.

The BSE Sensex touched a high and a low of 24925.90 and 24773.93, respectively. The BSE Mid cap index was up by 1.85%, while the Small cap index rose by 1.96%.

The top gainers on the Sensex were Hero MotoCorp up by 3.57%, Hindalco Inds up by 3.48%, Hindustan Unilever up by 2.26%, Tata Steel up by 2.06% and Bajaj Auto up by 1.56%. While TCS down by 1.92%, ONGC down by 1.87%, Bharti Airtel down by 1.59%, RIL down by 1.54% and HDFC down by 1.14% were the top losers in the index.

On the BSE Sectoral front, Realty up by 1.55%, Capital Goods up by 1.25%, Metal up by 1.17%, Consumer Durables up by 0.81% and PSU up by 0.72% were the top gainers, while IT down by 1.27%, Oil & Gas down by 1.26%, Teck down by 1.01% and FMCG down by 0.23% were the only losers in the space.

Meanwhile, in order to meet the rising domestic coal requirements, Coal India has planned to form a panel of consultants which would help it in acquiring, developing and operating coal mines overseas.

Coal India is eyeing coal assets abroad to meet the domestic demand. Earlier, Coal Ministry had stated that acquisition of coal mines overseas should be done in an aggressive manner to meet India’s rising energy requirements. Taking forward its plans to acquire overseas mines, CIL had recently invited bids for the third phase of drilling in the African nation. It had earlier invited bids from bankers and interested parties for acquiring assets abroad.

India, despite being world’s third-largest producer of coal and fifth largest in terms of reserves, has failed to keep pace with increasing domestic demand. Indian domestic coal demand is around 35 percent higher than domestic supply, resulting into a high deficit of which a huge part is being met by costly imports from Indonesia, South Africa and Australia. The country had imported a record 171 MT coal last financial year to meet domestic requirements. Meanwhile, to boost the domestic coal production, the government has planned to invite bids from private players to start coal mining in a public-private partnership (PPP) mode in the country, which would also end the monopoly of public sector unit Coal India.

The CNX Nifty touched a high and low of 7,433.30 and 7,391.35 respectively.

The top gainers of the Nifty were NMDC up by 5.03%, IDFC up by 3.97%, Hindalco Industries up by 2.74%, PNB up by 2.68% and Hero MotoCorp up by 2.65%. On the other hand, HCL Technologies down by 2.56%, TCS down by 1.91%, ONGC down by 1.86%, Bharti Airtel down by 1.80% and Kotak Mahindra Bank down by 1.67% were the top losers.

The European markets were trading in red, France’s CAC 40 was down by 0.27%, Germany’s DAX was down by 0.19% and United Kingdom’s FTSE 100 was down by 0.23%.

The Asian markets concluded Wednesday’s trade mostly in red, retreating from a seven-month high.

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