MUMBAI: Benchmark equity indices reeled under selling pressure for the seventh straight session Friday as pharma, metal, auto and banking stocks led losses amid sustained foreign fund outflows, muted earnings season and weak global cues.
However, the emergence of buying in power, energy and PSU stocks in the last one hour of the session and covering-up of short positions by speculators wiped off most losses.
The 30-share Sensex, after slumping 365 points to hit a low of 35,510.97 intra-day, recouped most of the lost ground on fag-end buying, and finally settled with a modest fall of 67.27 points, or 0.19 per cent down at 35,808.95.
The index has now lost a lost over 1,165 points in seven sessions.
The broader NSE Nifty, after shuttling between 10,620.40 and 10,785.75, settled at 10,724.40 points, down by 21.65 points, or 0.20 per cent.
On a weekly basis, the BSE index dropped 737.53 points, or over 2 per cent; while NSE Nifty fell 219.20 points or 2 per cent.
Market staged a sharp recovery from the bottom, confirming support for the market at lower levels, said Sunil Sharma, Chief Investment Officer, Sanctum Wealth Management.
Investor sentiment was roiled by weakness in retail sales in the US, and persisting worries around domestic debt and liquidity, he said.
"The mid-cap and large-cap divergence continued, and year-to-date the Nifty 50 is outperforming the Midcap 50 by 4.3 per cent," he added.
In stock-specific action, Sun Pharma was the biggest loser among Sensex components, plunging 3.94 per cent, followed by Tata Steel falling 3.12 per cent.
Other big losers included Vedanta, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Finance, SBI, Axis Bank, HDFC, Maruti Suzuki, Yes Bank, M&M, IndusInd Bank, TCS, HUL, Kotak Bank, HDFC Bank, HCL Techand ICICI Bank, losing up to 2.87 per cent.
Dr Reddy's stock crashed over 4 per cent on massive selling by participants.
On the other hand, NTPC, PowerGrid, Reliance Industries, L&T, Bharti Airtel, Tata Motors, Coal India, Infosys, ITC, Bajaj Auto and Asian Paint ended higher by up to 4.13 per cent.ONGC, too, gained 2.27 per cent, after the state-owned company Thursday reported a 65 per cent jump in its third quarter net profit as higher prices made up for a fall in oil output.
Sector-wise, the BSE metal index emerged worst performer, tumbling 2.32 per cent, followed by healthcare down 2.27 per cent, auto (1.21 per cent), bankex (0.69 per cent), FMCG (0.44 per cent), consumer durables (0.29 per cent), IT (0.22 per cent), realty (0.18 per cent) and teck (0.12 per cent.
However, power index gained the most, rising 2.17 per cent, oil and gas (1.44 per cent), infrastructure (1.09 per cent), PSU 0.57 per cent and capital goods (0.42 per cent).
A similar trend was also extended to the broader markets with the mid-cap index falling 1.18 per cent, and small-cap index shedding 0.83 per cent.
On the macro front, rising global crude prices dented the rupee, which depreciated by another 28 paise to 71.44 against the dollar intra-day.
The Brent crude futures, the international benchmark, advanced to USD 65.10 per barrel, their highest level in nearly three months.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 2.06 per cent, Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.37 per cent, Kospi was down 12.34 per cent, Japan's Nikkei shed 1.13 per cent and Singapore's Straits Times declined 0.54 per cent.
Among European markets were in somewhat mixed form in their early deals with the Paris CAC 40 rising 0.24 per cent; while Frankfurt DAX slipped 0.46 per cent, and the London's FTSE was almost flat.
The US Dow Jones Industrial Average also ended 0.41 per cent lower Thursday.