Mumbai: MUMBAI, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Indian shares on Wednesday closed 0.7 percent lower in choppy trade on the eve of monthly derivatives contracts expiry on the National Stock Exchange, with weak European markets dampening sentiment.
Traders also booked profits after the recent sharp rally, which saw the benchmark index gain 11% in September, and firmly on course to post its best monthly gain since May 2009.
Foreign funds have been net buyers of Indian equities on all sessions in September, pumping in more than $5 billion so far in the month.
Non-ferrous metals producer Sterlite Industries logged its biggest fall in 14 months as it fell 8.5% after the Vedanta-owned company closed the world’s ninth largest copper smelter on court order.
The 30-share BSE index <.BSESN> dropped 0.74% or 148.52 points to 19,956.34, after rising as much as 0.6% early, with 22 of its components closing in the red.
“I think the market has run so hard so fast for a reasonable period of time and I think it should breathe little bit,” said Sudhakar Shanbhag, chief investment officer for Kotak Life Insurance.
“It can’t keep running at this pace. The question...at this point of time is, can this rate of (fund) inflow continue?,” said Shanbhag, who manages 79 billion rupees ($1.8 billion) of assets for the insurance company.
Foreign funds have poured in nearly $18 billion so far in 2010, and could well post a new record. They had pumped in a record $17.5 billion in 2009. “We, as long-term investors, are not too excited or too worried. We would continue to be invested,” said Shanbhag.
“Is it time to take major cash calls or something? It doesn’t look like there is any reason to do that.”
Cigarette-to-hotel business ITC shed 2.7%, but was still up 6.8% this month, backed by strong domestic consumption story.
Export-focused outsourcer Infosys Technologies closed 0.4% higher after rising as much as 1.9% to a record Rs3,075.
Top IT firm Tata Consultancy Services firmed 0.1% after it won an A$50 million infrastructure management contract from AGL.
Mahindra Satyam notched a 0.1% gain in choppy trade, as investors awaited its review of audited results for fiscal years 2009 and 2010.
Around 12.5 million shares were traded on the BSE, more than thrice its average volume over the last 90 days.
Larsen & Toubro, the country’s leading engineering and construction firm, shed 0.6% after gaining 2.6% over four sessions.
Declining shares beat advancing ones in a ratio of 1.6:1 in a relatively higher volume of 631 million shares.
The 50-share NSE index dropped 0.6% to 5,991.30 points.
Elsewhere, the FTSEurofirst 300 index shed 0.4% at 3:57pm, while emerging stocks rose 0.7%.
Sun Pharmaceutical Industries rose 1.7% to Rs2,002.15 after the drugmaker said on Tuesday it got tentative U.S. FDA approval for generic version of Sanofi Aventis’ Rilutek.
Abbott India firmed 2.2% to Rs1,129.65, after it said late Tuesday June-August profit rose by 8%.
Solar photo-voltaic cellmaker Indosolar listed at Rs29.80, 2.8% higher than its issue price of 29 rupees, on the Bombay Stock Exchange. The stock erased all of its gains and closed Rs23.70.