Mumbai: Shares edged down 0.2% in choppy trade on Thursday amid low volumes as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of the holiday season, but market participants see an upward trend for the year 2011.
Metal producers gave up gains as traders booked profits after the recent spike, triggered by a rally in base metal prices.
The BSE metals index dropped nearly 1% after rising close to 5% in the four previous sessions.
The 30-share BSE index closed 0.2%, or 32.9 points, lower at 19,982.88, with 20 of its components declining. It stayed in a narrow band, moving only about 137 points, through the day. The 50-share NSE index closed 0.1% lower at 5,980 points.
In the broader market, 1,523 shares declined, while 1,367 advanced in low volume of 277 million shares.
“Market should have an upward bias in 2011. Money will continue to pour in emerging markets, as they are one of the most lucrative options,” Manish Sonthalia, vice-president and fund manager of Motilal Oswal’s asset management business.
“Liquidity is ample as money will flow in from QE2. However, inflation worries would weigh.”
Foreign funds have poured in $28.5 billion in Indian equities including primary market offerings so far in 2010, and are set to post record inflows for the year.
Aluminium producer Hindalco and world’s No. 7 steel producer Tata Steel dropped 1.8% and 1.6% respectively. However, Sterlite bucked the trend to close almost 1% higher. Top lender State Bank of India firmed 0.2%, while leading private lender HDFC Bank and mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corp gained 0.4% each. Top private sector lender ICICI Bank dipped 0.1%.
IT bellwether Infosys Technologies topped the gainers, as analysts said the stock was their preferred bet in the software pack.
Software majors have been supported by upbeat earnings and outlook from global peers such as Accenture and Oracle this month.
“We retain our positive stance on the overall demand environment and expect Infosys to outperform peers,” brokerage Prabhudas Lilladher said in a note. The brokerage has a “buy” rating on Infosys.
Infosys and Wipro gained 0.8% and 0.2%, respectively, while bigger rival Tata Consultancy Services shed 0.9%.
State-run oil marketing companies Indian Oil Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Bharat Petroleum Corp shed between 1.1% and 2.2%.
Oil prices held above $90 a barrel, close to their highest in two years, after cold weather boosted demand and US stockpiles shrank.
At 4:15pm, the FTSEurofirst 300 index was barely changed, while the MSCI’s measure of Asian markets other than Japan gained 0.1%.
Godrej Consumer Products rose 1.4% to Rs 373.90 as brokerage CLSA upgraded the stock to “buy” from “outperform”.
A2Z Maintenance & Engineering Services listed at 385 rupees on the BSE, down 3.75% from its issue price of Rs 400 a share. The stock extended losses and closed at Rs 328.90.