Mumbai: The country’s benchmark stock index fell, ending an eight-day rally, on concern higher energy prices will fan inflation.
State Bank of India, the nation’s biggest lender, paced declines among its peers. Oil reached a 30-month high in New York on concern the conflict in Libya, Africa’s third-largest exporter, will prolong production cuts and spread to Middle East producers. Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the top car maker, rose to a one-month high after sales rose to a record in March.
Foreign funds were net buyers of shares for a seventh day.
The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index, or Sensex, fell 24.83, or 0.1%, to 19,420.39. The gauge, which swung between gains and losses at least 25 times, advanced for a second week. It rose 3.2% this week. The S&P CNX Nifty Index on the National Stock Exchange dropped 0.1% to 5,826.05, while its April futures settled at 5,865. The BSE 200 Index gained 0.3% to 2,384.95.
“The domestic consumption story remains intact and the numbers are refusing to come down on a month-on-month basis,” Gajendra Nagpal, chief executive officer at Unicon Financial Intermediaries Pvt. Ltd, said by phone from in New Delhi. “Energy prices remaining high is not good news for our economy, but the kind of money that has flowed in over the past few days gives one a feeling that foreigners are not too worried about oil.”
Crude for May delivery advanced as much as $107.65 in electronic trading in New York, the highest since 26 September, 2008. India relies on imports to meet three-quarters of its energy needs. The nation’s inflation unexpectedly quickened to 8.3% in February from 8.2% the previous month, official data showed on 14 March.
The Purchasing Managers’ Index for India was unchanged at 57.9 in March from February, when it accelerated at the fastest pace in three months, HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics said in an email on Friday. A number above 50 indicates expansion.
Maruti added 1% to Rs 1,274.35, while April futures traded at Rs 1,278. Sales climbed 28.2% to a record 121,952 vehicles last month, the company said. TVS Motor Co. jumped 3.2% to Rs 61.75 after sales rose 28% to 191,208 vehicles last month, the company said.
State Bank decreased 1.7% to Rs 2,719.55, while its April futures traded at Rs 2,742. ICICI Bank Ltd, the second biggest lender, lost 1.2% to Rs 1,102.9.
Hindalco Industries Ltd, the biggest aluminium producer, climbed 2.4% to Rs 214.25. The company signed an accord to borrow Rs 7,875 in loans for an aluminium smelter in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, it said in a statement. Tata Steel Ltd, the biggest producer of the alloy, rose 0.6% to Rs 625.65.