Indian shares ended marginally lower, paring early gains, as gains in heavyweight stocks such Reliance Industries and Infosys offset a sharp fall in Bharti Airtel after the telecom major posted its 10th straight quarter of profit decline.
Reports that the government is mulling divestment in various companies and the delay in implementation of General Anti Avoidance Rules kept the market mood upbeat early in the session, but investors pared long positions late in the session after European stocks fell from a four-month high following three consecutive sessions of strong gains.
The benchmark 30-share BSE Sensex ended the session down 1 point or 0.01 percent at 17,601, while the broader Nifty index ended up 1 point or 0.02 percent at 5,338. Second-line stocks underperformed, with the BSE mid-cap and small-cap indexes declining 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.
Shares of Bharti Airtel came under selling pressure, tumbling 6.6 percent to end near its day's lows after the telecom major reported a higher-than-expected 37 percent fall in quarterly net profit, its tenth straight quarterly fall, due to higher operating costs, rising competition and regulatory overhang. As a result, Airtel's market capitalization slipped and ICICI Bank became the country's 10th most valued firm. ICICI Bank shares ended down 1.6 percent.
Gail India, TCS, Larsen & Toubro, Tata Power and ONGC were among the other prominent decliners, while Mahindra & Mahindra soared 3.9 percent after the utility vehicles manufacturer posted a better-than-expected 20 percent rise in quarterly profit.
Metal stocks like Jindal Steel, Sterlite and Hindalco, software services provider Infosys and FMCG player Hindustan Unilever rose 1-2 percent.
Kingfisher Airlines lost about a percent after the airline cancelled over 30 flights from Delhi and Mumbai due to a strike by a section of its pilots and engineers protesting non-payment of salary. Jet Airways fell 2.4 percent after launching a co-branded credit card in tie-up with HDFC Bank.
Sugar stocks like Balrampur Chini, Dhampur and Shree Renuka fell between half a percent and 2.4 percent after the government decided to release additional non-levy sugar supplies for the September quarter to check the sweetener's price.
Elsewhere, other Asian markets ended mostly higher, as weak reports on factory orders in Germany and Italian economic growth spurred speculation that major central banks will take measures to bolster economic growth. However, gains were limited in the run-up to central bank meetings in Japan and South Korea.
European stocks retreated from a four- month high as companies from ING Groep NV to Securitas AB reported earnings that missed estimate and ratings agency Standard and Poor's downgraded the credit rating outlook on Greece.
Standard and Poor's downgraded its credit rating outlook on Greece to 'negative' and said worsening economic activity would make it difficult for the government to make further spending cuts, which is crucial to secure the next disbursement under the international bailout program.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com