Sensex ends flat on high inflation, Mumbai blasts

Mumbai: The BSE benchmark sensex on Thursday closed flat, just 22 points up in today`s volatile trade, as three blasts in the country`s financial hub yesterday made investors nervous, and overall inflation rose below the market expectations.

The Bombay Stock Exchange index sensex swung in a 350- range of 18,803.05-18,449.23 before ending with moderate gains of 22.18 points at 18,618.20.

After a lower start following reports of triple bomb blast in Mumbai last evening, the 30-share index surged as home minister P Chidambaram said terrorist attacks` aim was not to unnerve the business centres, but to hit at congested and populated areas.

Besides, overall inflation– measured in whole price inflation index– climbed 9.44% in June from 9.06% in May, much below market expectations and helped the market to wipe-off the day`s earlier losses.

Yet, the stocks took a plunge at the fag end on weak Asian trend and lower opening in Europe, erasing most of the gains.

Broad-based National Stock Exchange index Nifty ended 14.35 points higher at 5,599.80 after moving in 5,653.95 and 5,541.70 points range.

Banking stocks advanced on hopes that a slower rise in a monthly inflation may reduce the prospects of a further hike in interest rates. Largest lender State Bank jumped 1.39%, largest private lender ICICI Bank 1.40%, HDFC by 1.01%, and HDFC Bank by 0.55% to Rs 505.90. Banking index rose 1.04% to 12,879.34.