Mumbai, April 7: A benchmark index of Indian equities markets closed in the red for the third consecutive session Monday as consumer durables, bank and healthcare stocks declined on profit booking.

Markets were cautious as the five-week polling exercise began in the day for the general election.

The 30-scrip S&P Sensex of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which opened at 22,355.56 points, closed at 22,343.45 points — down 16.05 points or 0.07 percent from its previous day’s close at 22,359.50 points.

It touched a high of 22,481.62 points and a low of 22,197.51 intra-day.

The wider 50-scrip Nifty of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) closed at 6,695.05 points — up 0.70 points or 0.01 percent.

In Monday’s trade, stocks like consumer durables, bank and healthcare stocks came under sustained selling pressure. However, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and technology, entertainment and media stocks rose.

The S&P BSE consumer durables index lost 83.03 points, bank index was down 56.91 points and healthcare index was lower by 25.59 points.

However, the metal index rose by 24.20 points, followed by FMCG index — up 9.92 points — while TECk index was marginally higher by 0.02 points.

In a major takeover announcement of the day, India’s largest drug-maker by market capitalisation Sun Pharma said it will buy out Japan’s Daiichi-controlled Ranbaxy Laboratories for $4 billion in an all-share deal.

Sun Pharma’s scrip at the BSE closed 2.68 percent higher at Rs.587.25, while stock of Ranbaxy Laboratories fell 14.35 points or 3.12 percent at Rs.445.20.

The major Sensex gainers were: Sesa Sterlite, up 2.34 percent at Rs.194.40; Mahindra and Mahindra, up 1.26 percent at Rs.1,009.90; Tata Steel, up 1.01 percent at Rs.405.95; State Bank of India (SBI), up 0.95 percent at Rs.1,922.25; and Coal India, up 0.74 percent at Rs.284.10.

The main losers were: BHEL, down 3.32 percent at Rs.177.85; Cipla, down 1.84 percent at Rs.396.65; ICICI Bank, down 1.73 points at Rs.1,209.05; DrReddys Lab, down 1.64 points at Rs.2,602.40; and Maruti Suzuki, down 1.20 percent at Rs.1,903.95.

Among the Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei closed 1.69 percent down and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended 0.59 percent lower. Markets in China were closed for a holiday.

In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 was trading 0.71 percent lower at the closing bell here — so was Germany’s DAX Index, down 1.46 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index declined by 0.80 percent.