Brokers said besides a weak trend in global markets after Federal Reserve meeting minutes suggested the USA central bank was considering tightening monetary policy, caution ahead of Reserve Bank's monetary policy to be announced later in the day influenced the sentiment.
Indian equity markets on Thursday closed on a flat-to-negative note after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept its interest rates unchanged in its first bi-monthly Monetary Policy Review of the 2017-18 fiscal, which failed to uplift investors' sentiments.
The Reserve Bank also narrowed policy rate corridor, due to liquidity flush, by increasing marginal standing facility rate and bank rate to 6.50 per cent.
The BSE index hit a high of 30,007.48 in intra-day trade, but slipped to 29,817.69 before settling at 29,974.24, up 64.02 points or 0.21 per cent.
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The wider Nifty hit a low of 9,218.85 before recovering partially to settle at 9,261.95, still down 3.20 points or 0.03 per cent. "Q4 numbers should take centre stage from here on, but global cues could also hold sway in the coming days specially with United States markets beginning to show vulnerability ahead of jobs data", said Anand James, Chief Market Strategist, Geojit Financial Services Ltd. At 9.15am, the home currency was trading at 65.06, down 0.27% from its Wednesday's close of 64.88.
Among other rate-sensitive counters, SBI tumbled 1.35% while ICICI Bank fell 1.40%.
However, the BSE Realty index was quoting 2.63 per cent higher at 1,715.19 points. Hawkish Fed minutes and anxiety ahead of a two-day meeting between US and Chinese leaders also weighed on markets. FMCG and Telecom indices declined 0.8 per cent and 0.6 per cent respectively.
Investors also looked ahead to some key events this week, including the release of minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting later today, the U.S. China's Shanghai Index, however, rose 0.33 per cent.