The Indian equity benchmarks ended on a subdued note on Thursday as gains in Bharti Airtel, Nestle India, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Steel and ITC were offset with losses in HDFC Bank, Reliance Industries, Titan, Axis Bank and Bajaj Finance. The Sensex moved in a narrow band of 248 points and Nifty 50 index touched an intraday high of 17,379.65 and low of 17,302.70. The benchmarks witnessed volatile moves in a narrow band as weekly index futures and options contracts expired.
The Sensex ended 55 points higher at 58,305 and Nifty 50 index rose 16 points to close at 17,369.25.
"It will be crucial for the Nifty 50 index to hold around its support zone of 17,200-17,250. If Nifty is able to sustain the level of 17,200-17,250, it can witness higher levels of 17,500. Technical indicators suggest a volatile movement in the market in a small range between 17,200-17,500," said Ashis Biswas, head of technical research at CapitalVia Global Research.
Thirteen of 19 sector gauges compiled by the BSE ended higher led by the S&P BSE Telecom index's over 2 per cent gain. Power, Metal, Utilities, FMC, IT and Basic Material indices also rose between 0.6-1.2 per cent.
On the other hand, Banking, Financial Services, Consumer Durables and Realty indices ended lower.
Mid- and small-cap shares outperformed their larger peers as S&P BSE MidCap and SmallCap indexes advanced 0.5 per cent.
Bharti Airtel was top Sensex gainer, the stock rose nearly 3 per cent to close at record high of Rs 686. Nestle India, Tata Steel, Bajaj Finserv, HCL Technologies, ITC, Tech Mahindra, Asian Paints, TCS and NTPC also rose between 0.4-2.4 per cent.
On the flipside, Titan, UltraTech Cement, Bajaj Auto, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Bajaj Finance, Mahindra & Mahindra and Reliance Industries were among the losers.
The overall market breadth was positive as 1,840 shares ended higher while 1,347 closed lower on the BSE.