Mumbai: Indian shares turned negative on Thursday afternoon as investors locked in gains after rising for four sessions in a row.
At 3:17pm, the 30-share BSE index was down 0.06% at 16,173.63 points, with 18 of its constituents declining, after rising as much as 1.55 percent earlier in the day.
The 50-share NSE index was down 0.09% at 4,809.70.
Markets climbed 1.2% in the morning, stretching gains into a fifth consecutive session, supported by firm world markets and hopes the government would focus on ensuring growth.
Financial stocks such as private-sector lenders ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank led the rise on signs the easy monetary stance would continue to boost consumer spending.
The country’s main economic worry was lifting growth rather than inflation, finance secretary Ashok Chawla said on Wednesday, adding he saw no need for the central bank to change policy.
Traders said this indicated interest rates would not rise in a hurry and helped boost sentiment.
Telecoms firm Bharti Airtel rose 2.7% to Rs421, after it denied late on Wednesday a media report it had reached an agreement with South Africa’s MTN, and said the merger talks were sill ongoing.
At 11:24am, the 30-share BSE index was up 1.23% at 16,383.37 with all but five stocks rising.
ICICI Bank was up 4.3% at Rs825, while HDFC Bank rose 1.6% to Rs1,498.
Engineering and construction firm Larsen & Toubro gained 1% to Rs1,617, after it said it won orders worth Rs4.05 billion.
Metal stocks extended gains with Sterlite Industries and Hindalco rising 2.5% and 2.2% respectively.
In the broader market, gainers were more than double the losers in a relatively low volume of 161 million shares.
The 50-share NSE index was up 1.14% at 4,869.35.
“We are seeing a large breakout after we crossed 4,750,” said Neeraj Dewan, director of Quantum Securities. “These are levels to book profits or at best churn portfolios and not commit cash.”
Asian shares were in the green, with Japan’s Nikkei climbing nearly 2%, while MSCI’s measure of other Asian markets was up 1.4%.