New Delhi: Markets edged down in choppy trade on Friday as caution prevailed ahead of the US Federal Reserve chief’s speech amid nervousness about the outlook of the world’s biggest economy.
Lenders extended losses, while battered shares in software services exporters and automakers gained.
The main 30-share BSE index was down 0.11% at 16,129.01 points by 11:41am, with half of its components declining, having risen as much as 0.7% earlier.
“The market is just trying to recover some of the lost ground but that largely depends on the mood of the foreign institutional investors (FIIs),” said K.K. Mital, head of portfolio management at Globe Capital in New Delhi.
“They have been selling continuously.”
Foreign funds have been net sellers of more than $2 billion of local shares this month after purchasing a net $1.7 billion of equities in July.
“There are expectations of a Fed package. The market is looking at that,” Mital said.
Ben Bernanke, scheduled to speak at 10:00am New York time(1400 GMT), is most likely to outline gradualist measures to help the US economy, which would disappoint those looking for dramatic action, such as a fresh round of asset purchases.
A lower close on Friday would lead the main index to its fifth straight weekly loss. The index is down more than a fifth this year amid concerns that rising local interest rates would hurt corporate profitability and slow economic expansion.
The 50-share NSE index was down 0.1% at 4,834.80. In the broader market, there were nearly two losers for every gainer on a total volume of 215 million shares.
Lenders fell on continued worries that higher interest rates would curb their credit growth. Top lender State Bank of India was down 1.7% at Rs 1,296.70, while No. 2 ICICI Bank fell 0.5% to Rs 829.80.
Infosys , India’s No.2 software services exporter, was up 1.9% at Rs 2,223.95, while its larger rival Tata Consultancy added 1.5% to Rs 964.20. The sector index was up 1.14%.
Infosys shares have lost more than 35% of their value this year, while Tata Consultancy shares are down over 17% over economic worries in the United States, their largest market.
Battered automobile stocks also gained. Tata Motors was up 1% at Rs 721.80 while leading car maker Maruti Suzuki gained 0.6%. The sector index added 1.13%.
Asian markets were mixed on Friday. The MSCI’s measure of Asian markets other than Japan was up 0.15%, but Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.29%.
Amtek Auto Ltd rose 3.3% to Rs 142.30, after the auto parts maker’s board approved spending upto 2.91 billion rupees to buy back shares.
Tata Power fell 2.9% to Rs 1,015.90. Morgan Stanley has downgraded the stock to “underweight” from “equal-weight” and has cut its target price to Rs 900 from Rs 1,221.