Markets end flat after choppy session

Markets end flat after choppy session

Mumbai: Indian shares stretched a winning streak to a fourth day on Friday, with rising foreign portfolio inflows underpinning he market although there was resistance after the market’s rally to 16-month highs.

The 30-share BSE index closed up 0.18%, or 30.19 points, at 16,741.30 points, after seesawing through the day. It gained 2.9% on the week, its third rise in four weeks. Eighteen of its components gained. The 50-share NSE index gained 0.2% to 4,976.05.

Drug maker Dr Reddy’s Laboratories jumped 7.8% to its highest in more than three years after a newspaper said Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline was in talks to buy a 5% stake in the firm for about $150 million.

A spokesman for the company said he would not comment on the report.

The stock closed 3.6% higher at Rs865.45, after rising as high as Rs900.

Bank stocks pulled back on profit taking. The sector index dropped 1.2% after rising 14.7% in 11 straight sessions.

“The market is consolidating for now. Today, it was just profit booking ahead of the three-day weekend," said Deven Choksey, managing director and CEO of K R Choksey Shares.

The market is closed on Monday for a public holiday.

The main BSE index has risen 6.9 percent this month, with foreigners buying nearly $1 billion of stocks. For the year to date, the benchmark is up 73.5%, helped by overseas inflows of $9.3 billion.

In the broader market, gainers led losers in the ratio of 1.1:1, on good volume of 538 million shares.

Auto makers led the gainers, on improving demand for vehicles, traders said.

Top car maker Maruti Suzuki raced 5.2% to Rs1,640.85 and leading utility vehicles maker Mahindra & Mahindra climbed 1.8% to Rs885.

Reliance Industries rose 0.6% to Rs2,098.70, after falling 4.45% on Thursday when the energy giant sold 15 million shares raising about $660 million.

“This does not alter our positive outlook," Goldman Sachs said in a note on the sale and reiterated its ‘buy´ rating on the stock. It said the company’s exploration and production business would improve its earnings profile.

ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank shed 3.4% and 0.8% respectively. State Bank of India bucked the trend and rose 1.7%.

“We should see rangebound trade next week as there are no immediate triggers. Nifty has strong support at 4,750 levels in the near term," said Ambareesh Baliga, vice-president, Karvy Stock Broking.

Asian stocks were weak with Japan’s Nikkei declining 0.7%, while MSCI’s measure of other Asian markets was down 0.5%.