Mumbai: Indian stocks fell, snapping a three-day rally that took the benchmark index to a five-week high, amid concern higher commodity prices will increase companies’ costs.
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the nation’s biggest automaker, dropped the most in a month after chairman R.C. Bhargava said tight liquidity and rising interest rates will hurt sales. Reliance Industries Ltd, operator of India’s biggest natural gas deposit, lost 1.6%.
“India’s prices of the fuel are too low for exploration in deepwater areas,” said Atul Chandra, president of operations.
Hindalco Industries Ltd, the largest aluminum producer, climbed as metal prices rose.
“If commodity prices keep rising, it will be negative for the users,” said Deven Choksey, chief executive officer at Mumbai-based K.R. Choksey Shares and Securities Pvt. Ltd, which manages $125 million in assets. “For the next two to three months, commodities seem the best bet as prices are likely to rally.”
The Bombay Stock Exchange’s sensitive index, or Sensex, dropped 44.52, or 0.2%, to 20,015.80 points, at close in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Companies on the measure are valued at an average 19 times estimated earnings, compared with a recent peak of 20.1 times on 5 November. The S&P CNX Nifty Index on the National Stock Exchange dropped 0.3% to 5,984.40. The BSE 200 Index retreated 0.1% to 2,478.57.
Graphic: Yogesh Kumar/Mint
Maruti Suzuki slid 2.1% to Rs1,394.1, its biggest drop since 25 November.
“The company’s market share may fall in the financial year beginning 1 April 2011, should overall vehicle sales in the country surge,” Chief Executive officer Shinzo Nakanishi said on Wednesday.
Hero Honda Motors Ltd, the biggest motorcycle maker, dropped 1.7% to Rs1,939.85.
Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, the builder of a mass rapid transit system in Mumbai, declined 1.9% to Rs793.05.
Reliance Industries slid 1.6% to Rs1,056.05, its biggest drop since 9 December.
Hindalco rose 1.9% to Rs238.1, its highest close since at least 1991. Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd, the nation’s biggest copper and zinc producer, climbed 1.1% to Rs178.6, extending Tuesday’s 5% surge.
The London Metal Exchange Index of six metals, including copper and aluminum, climbed 1.8% on Tuesday, rising for a third day. Copper, rubber and cotton prices rose to record levels overnight.
Global funds sold a net Rs3.26 crore ($7.2 million) of Indian equities on 20 December, paring this year’s record inflows in equities to Rs1.29 trillion, according to data on the website of Securities and Exchange Board of India.