Benchmarks snap 5-day losing streak in choppy trade; ONGC spurts 5.5 pc

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Mumbai, Feb 23 (PTI) Markets found firmer ground on Tuesday after five days of heavy losses as investors made a cautious return to select energy, banking and infra counters amid mixed global cues.

A spurt in COVID-19 cases and lack of fresh buying triggers continued to weigh on sentiment, traders said.

After gyrating 667.46 points during the day, the 30-share BSE Sensex ended just 7.09 points or 0.01 per cent higher at 49,751.41.

On similar lines, the broader NSE Nifty settled 32.10 points or 0.22 per cent up at 14,707.80.

ONGC topped the Sensex gainers' chart, climbing 5.55 per cent, followed by IndusInd Bank, L&T, UltraTech Cement, SBI, NTPC and Titan.

Index heavyweight Reliance Industries rose 0.84 per cent after the company announced the contours of carving out of its oil-to-chemicals (O2C) business into an independent unit with a USD 25 billion loan from the parent, as it looks to unlock value by selling stakes to global investors like Saudi Aramco.

On the other hand, Kotak Bank, Maruti, Bajaj Auto, HDFC Bank, HCL Tech and HDFC were among the laggards, sliding as much as 3.87 per cent.

World shares were mixed ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's semi-annual testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, where he is expected to underscore the Fed's dovish stance to boost growth.

'Domestic market got back on its feet during the morning trade supported by strong Asian market while negative waves from European peers outweighed the gains by the end of the day. The expectation of strong global recovery as prompted by rising international commodity prices helped the market but was tempered due to elevated bond yield and virus cases.

'Consequently, volatility has increased in the domestic front, but broad markets continue to be attracted with themes like mid and small caps, cyclicals, energy, PSUs, metals and industries,' said Vinod Nair, Head of Research at Geojit Financial Services.

BSE metal, realty, basic materials, oil and gas, capital goods, power and consumer durables indices rose up to 3.71 per cent, while bankex, finance and telecom closed with losses.

Broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices advanced up to 0.98 per cent.

Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in Shanghai and Seoul ended on a negative note, while Hong Kong settled with gains.

Stock exchanges in Europe were also trading in the red in mid-session deals.

Meanwhile, the global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.81 per cent higher at USD 64.88 per barrel.

The rupee slipped from the day's highest level but managed to eke out a marginal gain of 3 paise at 72.46 against the US dollar. PTI ANS ABM ANS ABM ABM