Markets start new quarter positively; techs up

Markets start new quarter positively; techs up

Mumbai: Indian shares started the new quarter on an upbeat note and were trading 0.4% higher on Thursday, mirroring the gains in their Asian peers, with export-led software companies leading the charge.

IT bellwether Infosys Technologies, which will report its earnings on 13 April, along with rivals Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro gained more than 1%.

“Pricing is stable. The demand scenario is improving," said Apurva Shah, vice-president and head of research at brokerage Prabhudas Lilladher, adding that he had a positive view on the sector.

Shah said the positives will offset the impact from an appreciating rupee to an extent.

By 11:41am, the 30-share BSE Index was trading up 0.39% at 17,595.48 points, with two-thirds of its components gaining. The 50-share NSE index was up 0.4% at 5,271.05 points.

The benchmark had gained 0.4% in the March quarter, its fifth straight quarterly rise.

“We are entering the new quarter with lot of optimism. Fourth-quarter results and earnings are likely to be robust," said Deven Choksey, managing director and CEO of KR Choksey Shares.

Corporate advance tax numbers have led to expectations of robust earnings.

Five of the nine respondents to a Reuters Asset Allocation Poll said Sensex could rise further in the next three months.

Energy major Reliance Industries, which has the highest weight on the Sensex, rose 1.1% to Rs1,085.90.

Auto shares were mixed. There were expectations of strong sales numbers for March, but a hike in fuel prices weighed.

Late on Thursday, a government official said India will raise the prices of petrol by 1.1% in major cities that will migrate to Euro IV-compliant fuel.

Top vehicle maker Tata Motors raced 0.9%, while top utility vehicle maker Mahindra and Mahindra dipped 2.3%. Top carmaker Maruti Suzuki shed 1.5% despite registering 11% increase in March sales.

Utility Reliance Infrastructure, which also has interests in engineering and construction, rose 1.6% to Rs1,014.50 after it said its founders raised their stake to 43% from 38% by investing more than Rs1,821 crore.

In the broader market, gainers were more than thrice the number of losers in a volume of 183 million shares.