Mumbai: Shares seesawed on Tuesday as lower Asian peers made investors wary, but hopes for more foreign fund interest kept the undertone upbeat.
Energy major Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), leading car maker Maruti Suzuki and cigarette-to-hotels group ITC were among the gainers, while financials dropped.
“There is stock-specific activity going on. A steep downside is ruled out considering the strong FII interest,” Neeraj Dewan, director of Quantum Securities, said referring to foreign institutional investors.
At 10:00am (0430 GMT), the BSE 30-share index Sensex was down 0.15% at 20,271.89 points, with 14 of its components declining, after flipping between positive and negative territories. The NSE-50 index Nifty was trading 0.2% lower at 6,096.15.
The benchmark is up 16.1% in the year to date, thanks to record foreign fund purchases of $24.3 billion since the beginning of January.
Reliance Industries was up 0.4% after the Economic Times cited two unnamed government officials as saying the company aims to reach peak gas output of 80 million standard cubic metres per day at its KG D6 block off the country’s east coast in about 12 months.
Maruti Suzuki, which accounts for every second new car sold in India, was up 2.4% as it sought to catch up with the broad market rally. The stock is still down 1% year-to-date on worries about pressure on profit margins.
ITC gained 1.2%, riding on the strong domestic consumption story.
State-run utility NTPC and Sterlite Industries were trading 0.6% and 0.3% higher ahead of their quarterly earnings.
Financials declined as investors expected the central bank to hike key interest rates at its monetary policy review on Nov. 2 to tame inflation.
State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank were down between 0.4% and 0.7%.
In the broader market, gainers outnumbered losers in a ratio of 1.6:1 on volume of 78 million shares.
Elsewhere, the MSCI’s measure of Asian markets other than Japan was down 0.3%, while Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.3%.