Mumbai: Indian shares fell for a fifth consecutive session on Monday in their longest run of losses in nearly three months, as lower-than-expected results from Mahindra & Mahindra and shaky world markets weighed.
The BSE 30-share index Sensex dropped 0.47%, or 79.22 points, to 16,780.46, its lowest close in just over a month.
The benchmark has fallen 3.9% this month after rallying 81% in 2009.
Traders said US President Barack Obama’s threat to restrain banks from risk taking hit outsourcing shares such as Infosys Technologies and Wipro that get most of their revenue from the United States.
“There is a view being formed that Obama’s plan to limit risk-taking by banks, might hurt the order flow to the IT companies from BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance),” said Nilesh Doshi, president of equities at Techno Shares.
Infosys shed 1.4% and Wipro lost 0.7%.
Mahindra & Mahindra fell as much as 6.7% after the top utility vehicles and tractor maker’s quarterly profit came in below market estimates.
The stock closed down 5.2%, its biggest fall in more than five months, at Rs1,072.35.
Banks were mostly under pressure with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) expected to tighten policy on Friday.
According to a Reuters poll, 24 out of 25 economists expected the central bank to raise the cash reserve ratio, the proportion of deposits banks need to keep with the central bank, by up to 50 basis points in the meeting.
HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank dropped 1.3% and 1.1% respectively.
Sector leader State Bank of India rose 0.2% to Rs2,093.35 ahead of its quarterly results. After market hours, the bank reported steady quarterly net profit, helped by better loan growth.
Top carmaker Maruti Suzuki climbed 0.4% to Rs1,445.25, after it reported on Saturday December quarter profit more than tripled.
Leading mobile operator Bharti Airtel, which was the second-worst performer amongst Sensex stocks for 2009, gained 2.9% at Rs330.50.
Credit Suisse upgraded Bharti to neutral from underperform citing recent sharp underperformance of the stock, the investment bank said in a research note seen by Reuters.
“Our study of international telecom price war case studies indicates that the sharp RPM (revenue per minute) decline could end in the next couple of quarters,” it said.
Goldman Sachs raised the target price on the stock to Rs390 from Rs365 earlier, while reiterating its buy rating, In the broader market, losers outnumbered gainers in a ratio of 1.6:1 on volume of 383 million shares, sharply lower than last week’s daily average of 534.4 million shares.
The NSE 50-share index Nifty closed 0.6% lower at 5,007.90.
Indian markets are shut on Tuesday for a public holiday.