Mumbai: Indian shares were up 0.6% on Thursday as firm overseas markets and strong earnings from telecoms major Bharti Airtel helped calm investor nerves and halt a two-day slide.
Bharti, India’s fourth-most valuable listed firm with a capitalisation of $22.6 billion, met market expectations with a 25% jump in quarterly profit and its chairman said the company’s expansion to villages was yielding rich dividends.
Traders said investors were, however, circumspect ahead of several major earnings this week with the outlook for many dented by a slowing economy in the wake of the global downturn.
By 12:06pm, the main 30-share BSE index was up 0.55% at 8,827.09 points, after rising as much as 1.7%.
The 50-share Nifty was trading up 0.22% at 2,712.05 points.
“People are not sure of the trend. The sentiment remains weak and no one buys significantly in a bearish market,” said D D Sharma, senior vice president at Anand Rathi Securities.
“The market is waiting for the Reliance result. That could be a driver,” he added.
Top-listed Reliance Industries, which is due to report earnings after market hours, rose 1.7% to Rs1,138.50. The energy giant is expected to post lower quarterly profit, which will be its first drop in three years, as refining margins fell.
Bharti shares were up 4.5% at Rs610.10, after rising as much as 5.2%. Rival Reliance Communications was unchanged at Rs170.
Key losers included auto firms as weak earnings loomed. Car maker Maruti Suzuki lost 0.9% to Rs536, Tata Motors fell 2% to 137.25 and Mahindra and Mahindra shed 2.5% to Rs288.50.
Financial stocks, which had been hammered down this week, crept higher. Top lender State Bank of India rose 0.5% to Rs1,086.80, ICICI Bank firmed 2.8% to Rs379.35 and mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corp gained 1.6% to Rs1,395.
India’s annual inflation rate on Jan. 10 rose 5.60 percent from 5.24% a week earlier and compared with market expectations for a drop.
Engineering and construction firm Larsen & Toubro Ltd rose 1.3% to Rs695.50 on media reports it was likely to present a revival plan to the board of fraud-hit Satyam Computer Services Ltd.
In the broader market, 997 declines led 694 advances on a low volume of 61 million shares.