Mumbai: Indian shares ran out of steam on Friday as investors took profits after the market had rallied 9% over eight sessions, but there was optimism about the outlook following a revival in foreign buying.
Leading car maker Maruti Suzuki rose 2% after it reported a 28.2% jump in March vehicle sales.
Utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and motorcycle leader Hero Honda gained between 0.6% and nearly 2% respectively, ahead of their monthly sales data. Tata Motors, the leading truck maker that also produces cars, bucked the trend and shed 0.9%.
“Overall, it looks like the scene is improving from here on. But I think it is better to be cautiously optimistic considering the issues in the Middle East and high crude prices,” said Mehul Dedhia, assistant vice-president of sales at brokerage Sharekhan.
India’s strong pace of expansion in manufacturing sector steadied in March, helped by sustained new orders and output, while input prices were at their highest in at least six years, signalling further inflationary pressures, a survey showed on Friday.
At 11:42 am, the 30-share BSE index was down 0.03% at 19,438.81 points, with 13 components declining. It is up 3.3% for the week.
Gainers were double the number of losers in the broader market, while 109 million shares changed hands on BSE.
The BSE index climbed 9.1% in March, its best monthly gain since last September, as foreign funds pumped in around $1.6 billion after being heavy sellers in the previous two months.
The rally helped trim the benchmark’s loss in year-to-date to 5.2%, with net foreign selling during the period at $660 million.
Leading lenders State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank fell between 0.6% and 1.3%.
Cigarette-to-hotels business ITC was up 0.9%, riding on India’s strong domestic consumption story.
The 50-share NSE index was down 0.2% at 5,824.35.
Stocks on the move
TVS Motors was up 3% at Rs61.80, after the No.3 motorcycle maker reported a 28% rise in March sales.
Mid-tier IT firm MindTree rose 4.6% to Rs411, after the company said Albert Hieronimus, who is currently the chairman of Bosch Ltd , will step into the role of non-executive chairman of the board of MindTree effective immediately .
State-run oil marketing companies such as Hindustan Petroleum Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp and Indian Oil Corp were down between 1.5% and 1.8%, hurt by high crude oil prices.
Brent crude was steady above $117, after climbing to near a four-week high, as investors awaited an expected positive US March payroll report due later for clues to demand prospects by the world’s largest oil importer.