Mumbai: The BSE Sensex was trading 0.4% higher on Friday, on track to post its seventh weekly rise in a row, with automakers pushing ahead on expectations for robust sales before the financial year ends.
Bharti Airtel fell more than 2% as the leading mobile operator moved closer to wrap up a $9 billion deal to buy most of Kuwaiti Zain’s African assets.
The mobile carrier is poised to become the No. 2 in Africa after it completes the purchase, but its management and finances will be stretched.
By 10:48am, the 30-share BSE index was trading up 0.35% at 17,621.02, taking gains so far in the week to 0.2%. The 50-share NSE index was up 0.3% at 5,277.80.
Twenty-one of its components advanced.
”There is a lot of optimism due to continued liquidity flow,” said Ambareesh Baliga, vice-president of Karvy Stock Broking.
Foreign funds have poured around $3.5 billion in Indian equities so far in 2010, a part of which was absorbed by offerings in the primary market.
Tata Motors, the No. 1 truck maker, top carmaker Maruti Suzuki were up 1.9% and 2.2% respectively while leading utility vehicle maker Mahindra and Mahindra climbed 1.8%.
”Usually March auto sales are higher as institutional customers and those who buy for business purposes want to take advantage of higher depreciation,” said Vaishali Jajoo, research analyst at Angel Broking.
”Also this time there are fears that prices may go up in April due to new emission norms coming into effect and higher raw material prices,” she added.
Bharti shares were trading down 2.2% at Rs306.80 after rising 0.7% earlier.
”The Zain deal is definitely lucrative from the long-term perspective. But margins will be hit in the near term due to high interest cost on the debt,” said R.K. Gupta, managing director of Taurus Mutual Fund.
Reliance Industries, which has the highest weight on the main index, was up 0.7% at Rs1,099.50.
In the broader market, gainers led losers in a ratio of 1.5:1 on volume of 139 million shares.
Baliga said valuations looked stretched and if March quarter earnings were below expectations there could be a sell off.