Mumbai: Shares seesawed in a narrow range on Tuesday as investors turned wary of building positions amid worries about weaker corporate earnings and high inflation hurting growth prospects in Asia’s third-largest economy.
Trading remained mostly stock-specific with gains for drugmaker Cipla and leading vehicles maker Tata Motors, while Tata Power and Mahindra and Mahindra slipped after weak results.
“There has been some initial buying and if this continues, we might see short covering later in the session. I expect the market to end on a positive note if there is no negative news today,” said Neeraj Dewan, director at Quantum Securities.
At 11 am, the main 30-share BSE stock index was trading 0.1% higher at 17,133.71 points, after falling initially. Fourteen of its components were down.
Investors were cautious after the benchmark, one of the world’s worst performers this year, fell to its lowest close in three weeks in the previous session.
Weak Asian markets, trading down due to lingering doubts about Italy and Greece pushing through painful reforms to resolve their debt crises, added to the uncertainty.
Tata Motors rebounded 2.1% on short covering after initially sliding more than 2% following a 16% drop in quarterly profit announced late on Monday.
The stock had fallen nearly 10% in November before the results.
Mahindra & Mahindra, however, fell for a second day, losing 0.6% after the leading utility vehicle maker reported lower-than-expected quarterly earnings and said the economic outlook for the year was cautious.
Largest private-sector utility Tata Power dropped 5.5% to Rs95.65 after swung to a quarterly loss due to foreign exchange losses and higher provisions.
Cipla rose 6% to Rs305.10 after the drugmaker beat expectations with a 17.5% rise in quarterly profit, helped by lower input costs and higher utilization of a new unit that enjoys higher tax breaks.
Beaten-down Kingfisher Airlines was up 1%, after falling as much as 4.2% in early trade as its quarterly net loss doubled from a year earlier.
The 50-share NSE index was trading down 0.12% at 5,142.15 points.
In the broader market, declines outnumbered gainers in the ratio of 2.9:1, with about 190 million shares changing hands.
Among Asian markets, the MSCI’s measure of markets other than Japan was down 0.9%, while Japan’s Nikkei also fell a similar proportion.
Stocks on the move
• Real estate firm Sobha Developers Ltd fell 3% to Rs220 after its September quarter profit fell 31%.
• Power equipment maker BGR Energy Systems Ltd fell 3.5% to Rs286 after the company’s second quarter profit dropped 34%.
• Brokerage Citigroup also downgraded the stock to ‘sell’ from ‘neutral’ and cut its target price by a third citing “balance-sheet deterioration”.