Indian shares ended on a subdued note on Friday, as mixed global cues amid a lack of specific policy measures from the Fed and ECB dented investor sentiment.
That said, stocks recovered most of their earlier losses, helped by the positive opening of European markets ahead of U.S. jobs figures, which will likely show that payrolls in the United States have jumped by roughly 100,000 in July following a weaker than expected increase of 80,000 jobs in June. The unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 8.2 percent.
Other Asian markets turned in a mixed performance, with China's Shanghai Composite index rising more than a percent after a private-sector survey showed China's services sector expanded in July at a healthy pace, recovering from June's 10-month low. The China HSBC services purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to 53.1 in July from 52.3 in June.
Back home, India's services sector growth rate eased slightly in July but remained in the positive terrain for the ninth month in a row amid growth in employment and new orders, a business survey showed. The HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index for the services sector slipped to 54.2 in July from 54.3 in June, with a reading above 50 indicating expansion of the sector.
The benchmark Sensex touched an intra-day low of 17,027 before recouping losses to end down 26 points or 0.15 percent at 17,198, with 17 of its components retreating. The broader Nifty index fell by 12 points or 0.23 percent to 5,216, while the BSE mid-cap and small-cap indexes ended down 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.
Heavyweight metal, auto, banking and realty stocks led the declines, while oil/gas, healthcare and IT stocks saw stock-specific buying.
State-run lender SBI touched an intra-day low of Rs.1, 975 before paring its loss to end half a percent lower on concerns that margins will come under pressure after it slashed interest rates on auto and home loans. Private sector rival ICICI Bank fell 2 percent and Axis Bank retreated 1.6 percent, while HDFC Bank added a percent.
Public sector banks such as Canara Bank, Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India and Bank of India fell 1-3 percent as a looming drought increased the possibilities of large-scale farm loan restructuring.
Tractor maker Mahindra & Mahindra fell 1.4 percent after the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said rains could be about 5-6 percent below average in September due to the possibility of El Nino. Tata Motors, India's largest automaker, lost a percent, Maruti Suzuki eased 0.4 percent, Bajaj Auto declined 0.7 percent and Hero MotoCorp shed 0.4 percent.
Marico retreated 2.8 percent as the FMCG major posted better-than-expected earnings for the first quarter ended June. Rival Hindustan Unilever edged down 0.3 percent, but Dabur rose 0.7 percent.
Sun Pharmaceutical Industries gained 0.6 percent on a report that it is eyeing acquisitions in Europe. Glenmark Pharmaceuticals jumped 5.4 percent after reporting strong revenue growth for the first quarter.
Berger Paints soared almost 5 percent on robust Q1 results. Jet Airways ended 0.7 percent higher as the airline turned in a profit for the April-June period after five straight quarterly losses.
by RTT Staff Writer
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