Mumbai: Indian shares advanced for the first time in four days, led by Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), as some investors judged recent losses as excessive.
RIL, India’s most valuable company and the biggest component of the benchmark Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) sensitive index, climbed 1.5%, rebounding from a three-month low. Larsen and Toubro Ltd, the largest engineering company, advanced the most in three months after reporting record profit.
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The Sensex rose 55.20 points, or 0.3%, to 18,141.40. A 12% slump in the benchmark index this year has dragged the average value of its stocks to 14.5 times estimated profit, down from 21.5 times in March 2010, last year’s high.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index has a multiple of 11.2 times.
The S&P CNX Nifty Index on the National Stock Exchange added 0.1% to 5,438.1 and its May futures settled at 5,433.95. The BSE-200 Index was little changed at 2,240.36.
India’s inflation rate, which has remained above 8% for 16 months, needs to be brought down to boost economic growth, Reserve Bank of India Governor D. Subbarao told reporters on Wednesday.
RIL, owner of the world’s largest refining complex, advanced 1.5% to Rs 915.5, paring this year’s loss to 13.5%. The shares sank 4.9% in the previous three days and closed at the lowest level since 10 February on Wednesday.
Larsen and Toubro jumped 5.8% to Rs 1,594.85, reversing an earlier loss of as much as 2.2%. The shares had the steepest climb since 14 February, and surged as much as 6.9%, the most intraday since May 2009. Net income rose 17% to a record Rs 1,690 crore in the three months ended March. That beat the Rs 1,520 crore average of 17 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Ashok Leyland Ltd surged 3.8% to Rs 48.45. The truck maker reported a fourth quarter profit of Rs 298 crore, compared with Rs 223 crore a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had estimated a profit of Rs 253 crore.
India’s food prices rose at the slowest pace since February 2009 as food production climbs toward a record, boosting supplies. An index measuring wholesale prices of agricultural products advanced 7.47% in the week ended 7 May from a year earlier, the commerce ministry said on Thursday. It rose 7.7% in the previous week.
Overseas investors sold a net Rs 260 crore of Indian stocks on 18 May, increasing total outflows from equities this year to Rs 2,890 crore, according to data on the website of the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
Graphic by Yogesh Kumar/Mint