Indian shares edged lower on Thursday, as weakness in FMCG, metal and banking stocks overshadowed gains in Reliance Industries, capital goods and auto stocks. Global cues were lackluster and the rupee traded lower to hit a two-week low against the dollar on renewed demand for the greenback from banks and importers, weighing on investor sentiment.
The benchmark 30-share Sensex moved in a narrow range before ending down 71 points or 0.4 percent at 17,657, with 20 of its component retreating. The broader Nifty index fell by 17 points or 0.32 percent to 5,363, while the BSE mid-cap and small-cap indexes rose 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.
Diversified business conglomerate ITC tumbled 3.6 percent on concerns about regulatory action after Australia's highest court upheld the world's toughest law on cigarette promotion, enforcing logo ban on cigarette packs from December 1.
Metal shares lost ground as industrial metal prices weakened on the LME and investors looked ahead to the CAG report on coal block allocation due to be tabled in parliament soon. Tata Steel, Sterlite and Hindalco fell 2-3 percent.
Software exporters like TCS and Infosys fell about half a percent each on the back of mixed U.S. economic data.
Aviation stocks SpiceJet and Jet Airways fell 1-4 percent after state-run oil marketing companies hiked jet fuel prices by over 3.2 percent, marking the third consecutive rise since July this year.
Oil retailers BPCL,HPCL and IOC fell 1-3 percent after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh virtually ruled out diesel price deregulation for now, citing drought-like conditions in some parts of the country because of the inadequate rainfall during the monsoon.
Jain Irrigation Systems plunged almost 9 percent on dismal quarterly results. Nalco eased 1.1 percent amid reports that it is foraying into energy sector. Jaypee Infratech edged down 0.6 percent after hundreds of farmers staged a sit-in at the Greater Noida-Agra Yamuna Expressway, demanding toll free movement on the road.
Heavyweight Reliance Industries rose 2 percent after Goldman Sachs said the energy giant can potentially become a $100 billion stock by fiscal 2017 from its current market capitalization of around $46.6 billion. Separately, a PTI report quoted sources as saying that the company is willing to drill the first exploration well in KG-D6 block at its own cost.
Automakers Mahindra & Mahindra and Hero MotoCorp rose 2-3 percent, drug maker Cipla gained over 2 percent, engineering & construction giant Larsen & Toubro rose 1.6 percent and mortgage lender HDFC added a percent.
Geodesic soared 20 percent after its board approved a proposal to buyback 25 percent of its equity shares via an open offer through stock exchanges. Amara Raja Batteries climbed 5.2 percent, extending its Tuesday's 15 percent rally on robust Q1 earnings results. Wockhardt advanced 2.8 percent as it received regulatory approval to launch clopidogrel bisulfate tablets in the American market.
Elsewhere, other Asian markets and European stocks turned in a mixed performance as a mixed bag of economic data out of the U.S. tempered expectations of further monitory easing. Also, Chinese FDI figures pointed to worsening trade outlook for the second half of 2012, increasing concerns over the world's second-largest economy suffering a hard landing.
by RTT Staff Writer
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