Shares crept higher on Wednesday, with pharmaceutical stocks leading the rise after the country approved a COVID-19 pill, although year-end portfolio adjustments limited the gains.
At 1:00 pm, the NSE Nifty 50 index was up 0.02 per cent at 17,237.65 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.05 per cent to 57,926.52.
"We are nearing expiry (of derivatives) and it's December-end... There is volatility and we are also coming close to some amount of stability in the markets," said Anita Gandhi, a whole-time director at Arihant Capital Markets.
Indian markets have fallen more than seven per cent since hitting a peak in October, driven by worries over higher valuations and as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 rapidly spreads across the globe.
"Overall volumes have fallen and markets are consolidating in thin volumes. A mild rally over the year-end also cannot be ruled out because of net asset value-based buying," Gandhi said.
The Nifty pharma index was the top gainer, rising 0.9 per cent a day after India approved Merck's COVID-19 pill and two more vaccines for emergency use.
Early this year, several drugmakers including Dr Reddy's Labs, Aurobindo Pharma, Cipla and Sun Pharmaceuticals signed non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreements with Merck to manufacture and supply molnupiravir in India.
Dr Reddy's and Sun Pharma were the top gainers in the Nifty 50 index, rising 1.5 per cent each.
Metals were the top drags, with the nifty metals index falling 1.2 per cent.
India's market regulator on Tuesday strengthened rules for companies going public, potentially slowing some planned new issues, as it seeks to protect retail investors after a record year of initial public offerings (IPOs).
Asian stocks slipped, following a mixed Wall Street session as the region's investors positioned their portfolios for the new year.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)