Mumbai: Indian shares closed barely changed in rangebound trade on Monday on lack of any major triggers, while firm European markets and better monsoon prospects along with continued foreign inflows provided support.
The 30-share BSE index closed 0.04%, or 7.53 points, higher at 18,409.35 points, with 18 of its components closing in the green.
The 50-share NSE index, or Nifty, nudged 0.2% higher to 5,543.50 points. It traded in a narrow range of 30 points.
“There are no major news around to lead to leadership for frontline stocks, which is why key indices are lagging. It is a stock-specific uptrend,” said Deven Choksey, managing director and CEO of KR Choksey shares.
Monsoon rains, which are vital for India’s trillion-dollar economy, are likely to be normal this week in most parts of the country, boosting prospects for rice, cane, oilseeds and cotton crops, the weather office said on Friday.
The BSE benchmark index is up 5.4% so far in 2010, with foreign funds deploying $12.4 billion in Indian stocks.
It has outperformed the broader indexes such as MSCI’s measure of Asian shares other than Japan and MSCI’s world stocks index, which are down 2.1% and 5.4% respectively year to date.
“The joker in the pack today is oil marketing companies. People believe there could be some buzz on diesel price hike or diesel price deregulation may come in,” Choksey said.
Dealers said subdued oil prices and reports of subsidy payments also helped the state-run oil firms.
State-run oil marketing companies Indian Oil Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp rose between 3.1% and 11%. State-run explorer Oil & Natural Gas Corp firmed nearly 2%.
Financials closed mixed amid a tussle between high inflation and optimistic long-term demand outlook for loans in world’s second-fastest growing major economy after China.
Leading lenders State Bank of India and ICICI Bank firmed 1.4% and 1.6% respectively.
HDFC Bank and mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corp declined 1.6% and 1.7% respectively.
Export-focused outsourcers rose with the sector index gaining 0.6% after declining 0.9% on Friday.
Infosys Technologies and Wipro firmed 0.8% and 0.1% respectively, while sector leader Tata Consultancy Services closed barely changed.
Jindal Steel and Power rose 2.9% after it said over the weekend it had resumed developing the El Mutun steel and iron ore mine in Bolivia, after Bolivia sanctioned additional land for the project.
Utility vehicle maker Mahindra and Mahindra raced 1% as it signed a memorandum of understanding to buy a majority stake in Ssangyong.
Better August sales prospects pushed auto stocks higher, dealers said. Maruti Suzuki and Hero Honda rose 0.3% each.
In the broader market, gainers thrashed losers in the ratio of 1.4:1 in moderate volumes of 453 million shares on the BSE.
Elsewhere, the MSCI’s measure of Asian markets other than Japan was up 0.07% by 1021 GMT while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index of top shares climbed 0.7% higher.
Tata Steel was up 0.2% at Rs521.40 after the world’s seventh-largest steelmaker said late on Friday it would invest 10 billion rupees to set up a plant that would produce 50,000 tons of ferro chrome a year and a second plant that would produce 400,000 of rebar steel a year.
Top-listed biotechnology firm Biocon firmed 0.7% to Rs353.25 as its finance chief told Reuters the company expects revenue growth of 15% over the next two years each, while seeking partnerships with global drugmakers for experimental drugs.
Drugmaker Cipla climbed 2.2% to Rs317.30, after the company said its board will meet on 25 August to consider a special interim dividend.
Crisil rose 3.4% to Rs5,620.50 after the ratings agency said on Friday its board would meet to consider share buyback on 25 August.