Bombay Stock Exchange building
Bombay Stock Exchange buildingReuters file

Indian stock markets ended the last day's trading of financial year 2015-2016, which was also the F&O expiry day of the March series, on a flat note. The S&P BSE Sensex closed three points higher at 25,341, marking a loss of 9.35 percent over a 12-month period. The benchmark index had closed at 27,957.49 on March 31, 2015.

However, the index posted its biggest monthly gain in four years, according to NDTVProfit. "In the month of March, the Sensex rose 10.17 per cent and the broader Nifty rallied 10.75 per cent posting biggest monthly gains in over four years," the news channel reported. 

The Nifty also gained three points to settle at 7,738.40 Thursday, but was down 8.86 percent from its March 31 closing of 8,491. Most of the gold exchange traded funds (ETFs) ended with gains during the 12-month period, the gains ranging from 4.42 percent to 8.2 percent. 

The Nifty advance-decline ratio was evenly poised. 

The Sensex remained range-bound throughout the trading session on a day when Asian equity markets witnessed a mixed trend, despite US stocks extending gains for the third day Wednesday. 

Major Sensex gainers included TCS, Infosys, Sun Pharma and Hindustan Unilever, while stocks that dragged the index down were State Bank of India, Tata Steel, Bharti Airtel and Coal India.

Speculations that the government would cut the price of domestic gas by about 20 percent for the six-month period ended September 2015 saw shares of Cairn, GAIL, Indian Oil and ONGC falling. 

Stocks that climbed to a new 52-week high Thursday included NHPC, Hindustan Zince, Can Fin Homes and Ashok Leyland. 

The rally in the indexes in March has a lot to do with hectic buying by foreign institutional investors (FIIs), reversing their selling spree of the previous two months. Till March 30, FIIs had purchased stocks worth Rs 20,144 crore on a net basis, marking their fourth month of net buying in 2015-16.