Indian equities markets fell for the second consecutive week, with traders continuing to book profits across the market breadth in the run up to the budget, outcome of the assembly polls and whether the Reserve Bank will cut rates in the forthcoming policy review.
The 30-scrip sensitive index, Sensex, of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) ended the week at 17,636.80 points, down 1.6 per cent or 286.58 points from its previous week's close at 17,923.57 points.
The 50-scrip S&P CNX Nifty of the National Stock Exchange also shed 1.28 per cent or 69.95 points during the week to close at 5,359.35 points on Friday.
The bourses on Saturday conducted a special trading session for over an hour to test disaster management systems. The benchmarks were little changed at close of trade.
Since the beginning of the year, Indian markets have been riding a firm bull rally. However, in the last two weeks traders have started booking profits.
"The month of February has been an exciting one with the Indian markets largely sustaining the momentum gathered in January. However, the rally was snapped by rising oil prices, a lower-than-expected third quarter GDP number and likely risk aversion at higher market levels," said D. Kannan, Managing Director, Kotak Securities.
"The state election results have to be favourable from the government's perspective or else the optimism on reforms could wane. Moreover, the crude prices have to be watched closely as sustained high prices may lead to a deferment in rate cuts," added Kannan.
Foreign fund flows have been the main catalyst of the rally in the first two months.
According to data from the Securities and Exchange Board of India, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have put in more than $7.3 billion since the start of the year, having bought equities worth $2.03 billion in January and over $5 billion in February.
The two trading days so far this month (March) have seen $189.05 million coming in from FIIs.
During the week under review, there was some disappointing news on the economic front as official data showed that economic growth slumped to a near three-year low of 6.1 per cent in the quarter ended December largely due to poor performance of manufacturing and mining sectors.
Weekly gainers on the Sensex included: Sterlite, up 6.1 per cent at Rs 123.40; Sun Pharma, up 4.2 per cent at Rs 569; Tata Power, up 3.1 per cent at Rs 115.45 and Maruti Suzuki, up 3 per cent at Rs 1,318.05.
Among losers on the 30-scrip index were: DLF, down 14.6 per cent at Rs 203.20; M&M, down 8.1 per cent at Rs 676.55; L&T, down 7.7 per cent at Rs 1,297.35 and Hero MotoCorp, down 7.5 per cent at Rs 1,943.
Other major Asian markets managed to put on some gains during the week.
The Japanese Nikkei rose 1.34 per cent during the week to close at 9,777.03 points, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng moved up 0.73 per cent and ended at 21,562.26 points on Friday.
The Chinese Shanghai Composite index closed in the green, rising 0.86 per cent to end the week at 2,460.69 points.
European markets closed mixed.
Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.4 per cent to close at 5,911.13 points, while the German DAX closed 0.83 per cent up at 6,921.37 points.
The French CAC 40 gained 0.98 per cent at 3,501.17 points.
In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index ended flat at 12,977.57 points and the S&P 500 index closed 0.28 per cent higher at 1,369.63 points on Friday.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq index went up 0.42 per cent to close the week at 2,976.19 points.