Mumbai: Indian shares edged higher on Monday, marginally recovering after hitting their 2013 lows in the previous session, as recent underperformers such as Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) rose, while DLF Ltd gained after an executive told analysts earnings would improve.
Shares are expected to be range-bound until the 2013/14 budget is unveiled on 28 February, in a critical test of whether the government will announce a plan to contain the fiscal and current account deficits.
India’s finance minister plans to cut the public spending target for fiscal 2013/14 by up to 10% from this year’s original target, government sources told Reuters, in what would be the most austere budget in recent history as he tries to avert a sovereign credit downgrade.
Such a plan could spark gains in domestic shares. After surging 25.7% in 2012, the benchmark BSE index has stalled and is up only 0.38% so far this year.
“Earnings season has been not bad but not good either, and now eyes are on budget which has to be responsible as exports are not looking good,” G. Chokkalingam, executive director and chief investment officer, Centrum Wealth Management, said.
“You are dependent only on foreign institutional investor money to support current account deficit, so finance minister has to favour markets and economy, there is no other choice,” he added.
The benchmark BSE index, Sensex, rose 0.17%, or 32.93 points, to end at 19,501.08, recovering from its lowest close since 31 December 2012, hit on Friday.
The broader NSE index, the Nifty, rose 0.18%, or 10.80 points, to end at 5,898.20.
The gains were led by a pick-up in shares where selling was seen as overdone. L&T gained 1.57% after having fallen 6.35% as of Friday’s close.
State Bank of India gained 1.19%. Its shares have fallen 8.4% so far this month as on Friday’s close, after October-December earnings disappointed.
Among other gainers, shares in DLF rose 5%, after vice-chairman Rajiv Singh indicated earnings would improve and said net debt would fall, according to analysts who attended the company’s post-results analyst meeting on Friday.
Public sector companies MMTC Ltd and Hindustan Copper Ltd gained 8.71% and 4.02%, respectively on hopes of good demand in the upcoming stake sales by the government.
The government is yet to provide a time frame for the stake sales. India will allow wireless broadband airwave holders to provide voice services if they pay an additional $306 million, a senior government official said on Monday, a move likely to boost billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. Reliance shares ended 0.29% higher.
However, Jet Airways (India) Ltd fell 7.70%, a day after the chairman of Etihad Airways said the Abu Dhabi-based carrier needed to revise the terms of a pending deal to buy a stake in the Indian airline.