In the 30-share barometer, 16 stocks declined led by Bharti Airtel, Cipla, Dr Reddy, HDFC Bank, Hero MotoCorp and ITC. Tata Consultancy Services closed nearly flat ahead of earnings release expected after market hours. However, Coal India, Hindalco and HDFC led 14 Sensex gainers higher. The broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty eased by 2 points, or 0.03 per cent, to end at 6,318.90.
Telecom stocks faced heavy selling pressure and plunged over 7 per cent amid concerns that Reliance Jio Infocomm's participation in the upcoming spectrum auction will hurt market share and profitability of existing telecom players. Shares of Idea Cellular tanked 7.25 per cent, Bharti Airtel tumbled 4.84 per cent and Reliance Communications lost 4.18 per cent.
Bucking the overall downtrend, stocks of HCL Technologies spurted by 4.23 per cent after company reported 58.4 per cent growth in quarterly profit for the period ended December 31. In the auto segment, Bajaj Auto gained 0.66 per cent after company reported a 10.48 per cent increase in standalone net profit for the third quarter ended December 31.
Axis Bank scrip ended marginally down after reporting 19 per cent increase in quarterly net profit at Rs 1,604 crore. Brokers said the emergence of profit-booking after yesterday's rally and a mixed trend in the global markets mainly influenced the trading sentiment. Overall, seven out of 12 sectoral indices closed lower. The BSE Auto sector index suffered the most by losing 0.84 per cent, followed by FMCG index by 0.80 per cent, the Healthcare index 0.57 per cent. PTI SUN RS KPS DP KSR