Mumbai: Markets were 0.8% lower in choppy trade on Wednesday, mirroring Asian peers, as investors refrained from taking fresh bets amid an uncertain global economic environment.
Software services firms led the fall, with India’s No. 1 outsourcer Tata Consultancy Services losing 1.5%, while smaller rival Infosys shed 0.85%, on glum global economic outlook.
Metal makers bucked the trend on higher global metal prices, with aluminium maker Hindalco rising as much as 2.16%.
At 01:15pm, the main 30-share BSE index was down 0.81% at 16364.22 points, with 25 of its components in the negative territory. The index had gained as much as 0.2% earlier.
“There are too many variables.... I would rather wait for some clarity to emerge before taking any (market) call,” said Vaibhav Sanghavi, director at Ambit Capital.
Last week, the index logged its fourth straight weekly loss, its longest such streak since Lehman Brothers’ collapse in September 2008.
CLSA on Wednesday cut its 12-month target for India’s benchmark index to 18,200 points from 19,500 points as the research house prefers to stay cautious on the markets until it sees some evidence of investment demand picking up.
Foreign funds have sold Indian stocks worth about $1.9 billion so far in August, after having purchased $1.7 billion in July.
Earlier in the day Asian shares slid after Moody’s cut its rating on Japan’s government debt by one notch to Aa3, but European stocks are seen opening higher on speculation that the US Federal Reserve would announce another round of quantitative easing.
The speculation is widespread in financial markets that Fed chairman Ben Bernanke will use his speech on Friday at a central banker conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to signal a new monetary offensive to support the faltering US economy.
Apart from metal makers, real estate developers were also up a tad, while all other sector indexes were down, led by IT firms and lenders.
Tata Power , one of the largest private utility, was the top loser among index stocks on the NSE, after Citi cut its target price to 1,290 from Rs 1,462 citing higher input cost at one of its mega power project.
The 50-share NSE index was trading 0.75% higher at 4,911.5 points.
In the broader market, 742 advancers outnumbered 632 decliners on a volume of 336.37 million shares.
Japan’s Nikkei share average ended down 1.07% on Wednesday, while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.87%.
The top power equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals fell 0.9% after HSBC cut its target price to Rs 1,590 from Rs 1,850, while retaining its ‘underweight´ rating.
Shares in Aventis Pharma , a unit of France’s Sanofi , rose over 7% after the company said it will acquire Universal Medicare’s nutraceuticals formulations business in India.