Mumbai: Indian shares flip-flopped on Thursday ahead of the expiry of monthly derivatives contracts, and investors were undecided on the outlook.
Explorers Oil & Natural Gas Corp and Cairn India climbed 1.5% and 1.4% respectively in anticipation of strong quarterly earnings due later in the day.
State-run ONGC is expected to report a 15% rise in quarterly net profit on higher oil prices and also boosted by a gas price increase, a Reuters poll showed.
At 10:37am, the 30-share BSE index was up 0.1% at 20,030.31 points, with 14 of its components advancing. It rose as much as 0.6% early and then fell 0.2%.
“Today’s volatility is attributable to the expiry,” Arun Kejriwal, director of research firm KRIS, said referring to the derivatives contracts on the National Stock Exchange.
“The striking thing for this month is we are almost flat for this month. It looks like the market does not know where it is headed next.”
Top private-sector lender ICICI Bank was the biggest loser in the main index, dropping 0.8%, with the central bank widely expected to raise interest rates by at least a quarter%age point on Tuesday.
ICICI, which reports results on Friday, should post a 12% rise in quarterly earnings, a Reuters poll of analysts showed.
Foreign funds have invested a record $24.7 billion in Indian stocks in the year to date, driving the benchmark index 14.7% higher.
Leading mobile operator Bharti Airtel rose 2.6% after sliding 4.5% over the previous two sessions.
Bharti and smaller rival Aircel are in the race to buy Qualcomm’s wireless broadband business in India, the Economic Times reported.
Software exporters pulled back and the sector index was up 0.6% after shedding 1.4% over three sessions.
Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys Technologies, the country’s two leading software services firms, were up 1.1 and 0.7% respectively. Wipro bucked the trend and dropped 0.5%.
In the broader market, gainers led losers in a ratio of 1.2:1 on volume of 112 million shares.
The 50-share NSE index was up 0.1% at 6,019.70.
Elsewhere, the MSCI’s measure of Asian markets other than Japan was up 0.7%, while Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.3%.
Hexaware Technologies was up 4.4% after the software services firm said quarterly net profit rose 1.7% against market expectations for a decline.
United Spirits fell 5.6% to Rs1,504 after a 7% rise in July-September net profit fell short of market expectations, dealers said.
Thermax rose 4.5% to Rs832 as the capital goods maker said its September quarter net profit rose 65%.