Mumbai: Markets edged down 0.1% in choppy trade on Wednesday as cautious investors, fresh off last week’s rally, held back from taking major positions ahead of the upcoming quarterly results.
Financials stocks, which had seen gains over the past few sessions, were trading lower, while engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro and top telecoms firm Bharti Airtel led the gains.
“The market is taking a breather and trading is lacklustre. As of now, investors will be looking out for results, so any movement will be stock specific,” said Gajendra Nagpal, chief executive at Unicon Financial Intermediaries.
By 11:20am, the 30-share BSE Sensex was down 0.13% at 18,719.64 points. It rose as much as 0.4% in early trade. Nineteen of its components were trading lower.
Foreign funds have pumped in nearly $2 billion in the eight sessions to 4 July, as they ramped up their interest in riskier emerging market assets, helping the main index rack up gains.
The main index has recovered nearly 8% since a 20 June low of 17,314 points, but is still down 8.7% so far in 2011.
“The larger issues of rising interest rates and inflation continue to be a concern in the immediate term. So upside in the short term will be capped,” Nagpal said.
Shares in top lender State Bank of India and ICICI Bank , which have seen gains in the past few sessions, fell more than 1% each on Wednesday. The outlook for the sector has been cloudy on worries over hardening interest rates impacting growth.
HDFC Bank was trading marginally higher.
Software firms, which get a majority of their revenues from the United States and Europe, were trading weaker as investors turned cautious ahead of the U.S. payrolls report due on Friday and after Moody’s slashed Portugal’s credit rating to junk status.
Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys were down 0.5% each, while Wipro slipped 0.6%.
Idea Cellular rose 0.7% after it said a tribunal stayed the country’s telecoms ministry from enforcing fines worth Rs 250 crore ($56.3 million) over alleged violation of telecoms rules in its takeover of a smaller rival.
Top engineering and construction firm Larsen & Toubro and leading telecoms firm Bharti Airtel rose 0.7% and 0.8%, respectively.
The 50-share NSE index was down 0.17% at 5,623.15 points.
In the broader market, 697 gainers led 634 decliners on a low volume of 216 million shares.
Personal care products maker Godrej Consumer Products rose 2% to 446.95 after the Economic Times newspaper reported the company may buy out US-candy maker Hershey’s 51% stake in their joint venture, and enter the chocolates category on its own.
Saregama India Ltd rose 1.6% Rs 72.30 after the company said it had bought a 10% stake in Timbre Media.