New Delhi: Indian shares fell 0.4% on Friday, led down by ICICI Bank and Reliance Industries, as investors took profits in a market that climbed more than 7% over two weeks.
Uncertainty related to India’s slowing economy and political outlook ahead of upcoming elections, along with a drop in world markets, made traders wary ahead of the weekend and halted a two-day rise.
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Tata Steel, aluminium producer Hindalco Industries and non-ferrous metals poducer Sterlite Industries shrugged off the broader decline and rose on the back firmer metal prices.
The 30-share BSE index closed down 0.39% at 8,966.68 points, with 17 stocks declining, after falling as much as 1.5% at one stage. The 50-share NSE index ended little changed at 2,807.05.
The benchmark gained 2.4% on the week, after gaining 5.2% the previous week, but is down 7.1% this year.
This week’s rise was underpinned by foreign fund buying of a net $280.9 million over five sessions to Thursday. It also helped propel the rupee to a three-week high and set it on course for its best week in 2009.
“Global uncertainties continue to have an impact on the economic situation here. Election worries will keep the market volatile,” Jigar Shah, senior vice president at Kim Eng Securities, said.
India goes to the polls in April and May, with little prospect of a single party winning a majority on its own, while the economy is seen slowing down sharply as the global crisis squeezes demand worldwide.
Traders said they expected the market to trade in a narrow range over the next few weeks, with a weak bias until there was more clarity on the political outcome.
Reliance, which has the heaviest weight in the main index, shed 0.5% to 1,338.55 rupees on profit taking. Still, the energy giant which is set to start pumping gas from its field off India’s east coast this month, gained 4.4% on the week.
Private sector lender ICICI Bank fell 4.5% to Rs322.90, while government-run bigger rival State Bank of India dropped 1.5% to Rs953.55.
The banking sector fell almost 2% but ended the week up 2.1%.
Hindalco jumped 5.7% to Rs47.60 rupees, while Tata Steel climbed 1.7% and Sterlite rose 0.4%.
In the broader section, advancers edged past losers 1,255 to 1,225 on relatively light volume of 251.4 million shares.
Asian shares declined, with MSCI’s measure of Asian markets outside Japan falling 1.2 %. Japan was closed for a holiday.
Video by Vaishali Jain