The Indian equity benchmarks ended little changed on Wednesday as investors turned cautious ahead of the outcome of US Federal Reserve's two-day meeting ending later in the day. The US Fed will decide on when it would start tapering its bond buying plan and raising interest rates, analysts said. The Sensex traded in a narrow range of 300 points and Nifty 50 index fluctuated between 17,524 and 17,610. Gains in Reliance Industries, Tech Mahindra, HCL Technologies, ITC and Mahindra & Mahindra were offset with losses in HDFC, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Hindustan Unilever and Axis Bank.
The Sensex ended 78 points lower at 58,927 and Nifty 50 index slipped 15 points to close at 17,547.
Investors are now awaiting policy cues from the US Federal Reserve's two-day meeting ending later in the day, including when it would start tapering its bond buying and raising interest rates.
"Nifty remains in a medium-term uptrend for targets of 18,000 and above; any meaningful correction is a good opportunity to buy. Support for the September series is seen at 17,325 while resistance is expected at 17,600-17,770 levels. Breach of 17,325 on the closing basis is expected to result in selling pressure to below 17,000 levels. Auto and Energy stocks trade with a positive bias while metals are expected to consolidate before resuming the uptrend," Sahaj Agrawal, Head of Derivatives Research at Kotak Securities said.
Real estate shares witnessed strong buying interest in an otherwise lacklustre session after Karnataka government reduced stamp duty on flats between Rs 35-45 lakh to 3 per cent from 5 per cent. The measure of real estate shares on the National Stock Exchange - Nifty Realty index jumped as whopping 8.5 per cent with shares like DLF and Godrej Properties rising more than 10 per cent each.
Nifty Media index advanced over 13 per cent on the back of surge in Zee Entertainment shares, which closed 30 per cent higher after it signed a merger deal with Sony Pictures Networks.
On the other hand, Nifty Bank, Financial Services, Private Bank and FMCG indices closed lower.
Mid- and small-cap shares outperformed their larger peers as Nifty Midcap 100 index advanced 0.7 per cent and Nifty Smallcap 100 index rose 1.45 per cent.
Coal India was the top Nifty gainer, the stock rose 3.61 per cent to close at Rs 162. Tech Mahindra, Hindalco, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Bharat Petroleum, JSW Steel, HCL Technologies, Indian Oil and Reliance Industries were also among the gainers.
On the flipside, Nestle India, HDFC, ICICI Bank, ONGC, HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Hindustan Unilever, Divi's Labs, Shree Cement and Britannia Industries were among the losers.
The overall market breadth was positive as 2,099 shares ended higher while 1,139 closed lower on the BSE.