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Indian Shares End Flat On Reform Worries

Indian shares ended a volatile session little changed on Friday after uproar over the issue of foreign investment in multi-brand retail in the Lok Sabha forced the Speaker to adjourn the House for the second day in a row, till Monday.

The Indian rupee is walking a tightrope and if we were to see a reversal of the reform process, it would undoubtedly put increasing weakening pressure on the currency in the coming months, an HSBC report said today as the currency hovered at a more than a two-month low at 55.53 against the dollar in mid-session on persistent dollar buying by oil importers.

Global cues were mixed, as optimism over Greece aid deal offset news of sharp conflicts in discussions over the European Union's (EU) long-term budget.

The benchmark 30-share Sensex moved in the range of 18,402-18,556 before ending down 11 points or 0.06 percent at 18,507, with only 11 of its components retreating. Realty, healthcare, banking and metal stocks were subdued, while auto, oil/gas and consumer durable stocks saw selective buying. The broader Nifty index ended down 1 point or 0.02 percent at 5,627.

Ranbaxy Laboratories led the decliners in the Nifty pack, falling 3.3 percent after the drug maker said it has recalled some batches of its cholesterol lowering drug Atorvastatin from the US market. NTPC lost 2.8 percent after the Union Cabinet approved a 9.5 percent stake sale in the company to raise about Rs 13,000 crore.

State-run oil retailer BPCL retreated 1.4 percent and Hindustan Petroleum edged down 0.7 percent after the government said it is looking into demands for raising the cap on supply of subsidized LPG cylinders per household. Cement maker Grasim and gas utility Gail fell about 2 percent each.

Telecom stocks turned in a mixed performance after former auditor RP Singh leveled charges against the Public Account Committee on the controversy over the 2G spectrum losses mentioned in the draft report of the CAG. Bharti Airtel edged down 0.6 percent and Rcom edged down marginally, while Idea Cellular gained 0.2 percent. Bharti Airtel plans to launch the initial public offering of its tower arm Bharti Infratel in the second week of December, reports said.

Jyoti Structures fell 1.6 percent after its board approved a proposal to issue 50 lakh redeemable preference shares on a preferential basis.

ONGC edged up 0.2 percent on fund raising reports. Cinemax India hit the 5 percent upper circuit limit after its promoters unveiled stake sale plans. Crompton Greaves climbed 3.2 percent after it has set up a high-efficiency, low-voltage rotating machines plant at Goa. Jet Airways soared 17 percent on heavy volumes.

Suzlon Energy rose 0.7 percent after winning new orders for 39.9 MW projects from leading public sector undertakings. Indian Hotels rallied 2.1 percent on reports that it might hike buyout offer for U.S.-listed Orient-Express Hotels.

Market regulator SEBI today said that it would soon introduce some measures to protect investors against stock crashes on the bourses after a 'flash crash' on the NSE sent shares tumbling last month. "We are going to take some measures based on experts' views so that there is some pre-check in orders and pricing. Lapses on the part of any intermediaries will be looked at separately and actions will be taken," SEBI Chairman U.K. Sinha told presspersons on the sidelines of a securities market conference.

Separately, the market regulator is in the process of preparing guidelines to rationalize/harmonize different routes for foreign portfolio investment in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India and the government, Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

by RTT Staff Writer

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