New Delhi: Markets nudged up in see-saw trade on Thursday on investor worries over a possible slowdown in Asia’s third-largest economy following a series of interest rate increases, with shaky global economic outlook also weighing.
The main 30-share BSE index was up 0.06% at 17,951.94 points by 12:40pm, with 18 of its components rising. The index had fallen to its lowest close in nearly six weeks in the previous session.
“As far as the domestic bad news is concerned, that seems to be already factored into the prices,” said Gajendra Nagpal, chief executive at Unicon Financial Intermediaries in New Delhi.
“The good thing is there has been no significant selling yet by foreign institutional investors (FIIs). If the global economic conditions worsen further and FIIs start selling, the current levels may not be held.”
Data showed foreign funds’ interest in Indian shares wavered in the second half of July, paring net inflows over the past five weeks to $2.8 billion.
The 50-share NSE index was up 0.02% at 5,405.90 points. In the broader NSE market there were 878 gainers for 507 losers, with about 327 million shares changing hands.
Reserve Bank of India has been one of the world’s most aggressive central banks to control high inflation, and has increased key rates 11 times since March 2010, including a hefty 50 basis-point hike effected last week.
Rising interest rates have started weighing on consumer demand, with a government panel and several private economists lowering their forecasts for economic expansion.
Food price index rose 8.04% and the fuel price index climbed 12.12% in the year to 23 July, government data on Thursday showed.
Infosys Technologies , India’s second-largest software services exporter, rose 0.8% to Rs 2,754, tracking Wednesday’s gains in technology shares in the United States, which is the largest market for Indian software firms.
Infosys’ larger rival Tata Consultancy was up 0.7% at Rs 1,118.10, while third-ranked Wipro added 0.2% to Rs 382.15.
Cigarette maker ITC Ltd , the second best performer among the main index components this year, shed 1.3% to Rs 204.25 as investors booked some profits after recent gains.
Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.2% after an intervention by Japanese authorities pushed the yen lower and boosted exporter stocks. But MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 1.2%.
Shares in Coal India were up about 2% at Rs 399.80 after the National Stock Exchange said it would add four stocks, including Coal India, to it futures and options list from 5 August.
Shares in Hindustan Copper were up 8.8% at Rs 269.80, after the company said late Wednesday its net profit for the June quarter more than doubled.
Shares in construction firm BL Kashyap & Sons plunged 20% to Rs 15.20 after The Economic Times reported that India’s Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation has asked the company to pay Rs 593 crore in provident fund dues and penalty by 15 August.