Mumbai: Shares fell more than 1% to their lowest in more than five months on Tuesday as high inflation and hardening interest rates continued to dent investor confidence, but export-driven outsourcers bucked the trend on improving global prospects.
Lower Asian markets and subdued outlook for foreign fund inflows also weighed on the market.
Trading was choppy with engineering and construction firm Punj Lloyd sliding 8% after it reported net loss for the December quarter.
By 11:41am, the 30-share BSE index was trading down 0.9% at 17,875.14 points, with 18 of its components declining. It had hit 17,848.25 at one stage, its lowest level since August 2010.
“It is indecisive for now, but I see a weak trend over the next three months, until macro factors improve,” said Prakash Diwan, head of institutional business at Networth Stock Broking.
Foreign funds have withdrawn $1.3 billion from Indian equities since the start of 2011 and the benchmark index has shed 12.7% in the year to date.
Software services firms Infosys Technologies and Wipro rose 0.7% and 0.5% respectively after rival Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp forecast strong 2011 results, underlining a gradual recovery in technology spending.
The sector index was up 0.3%.
“We continue to believe FY12 is likely to be another 26-30% growth year for tier-I vendors as was the case in FY11,” Edelweiss said in a note on the IT sector.
“Recent demand is driven not just by cost-outs, but also by significantly higher IT spending by companies targeted at revenue productivity, and is sustainable.”
Wipro said after market hours on Monday it had reorganised its key IT outsourcing business, less than three weeks after it named a new chief executive as it seeks to win more clients.
In the broader market, losers were more than thrice the number of gainers on volume of 97 million shares.
The 50-share NSE index was down 0.9% at 5,348.90.
The MSCI’s measure of Asian markets other than Japan was down 0.2% while Japan’s Nikkei was trading 0.4% higher.
Bharati Shipyard dropped 1% to Rs 156.74 after the second-largest private shipbuilder reported a 30% fall in December quarter net profit.
Fortis Healthcare rose 2.8% to Rs 143.85 after the hospital operator said its December quarter net profit rose 58.7%.