Markets tad up led by ONGC, RCom

Markets tad up led by ONGC, RCom

Mumbai: Indian shares gained 0.4% on Wednesday, led by gains in explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp and mobile carrier Reliance Communications, but euro-zone debt fears kept investors wary.

Shares in Reliance Communications rose as much as 10% to their highest level in three weeks, after a newspaper reported that India’s No. 2 mobile operator was in talks with Emirates Telecommunications to sell a stake.

The main 30-share BSE index was up 0.35% at 16,635.70 by 10.57am, with 18 components in the positive zone. The index had risen as much as 0.6% earlier in the session and then briefly turned negative. The 50-share NSE Nifty index was up 0.2% at 4,977.75.

“The investor mood is fairly cagey now because the overall global scenario is very uncertain and funds are not willing to invest large amounts of money," said Gajendra Nagpal, CEO of brokerage Unicon Financial.

The key stock market index posted its first monthly decline since January, as investors pared their exposure to risky assets in the wake of Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.

Nagpal said the stock market was not expected to see a sharp surge in the near term due to the lingering worries about the euro zone debt crisis and in the absence of any positive buying trigger. Shares in Reliance Communications were up 6.3% at 148.05 rupees by 11:00am, after the Times of India said that Etisalat was in advanced talks to buy a quarter of the Indian mobile operator for Rs18,000 crore ($3.8 billion).

If a deal is finalised, Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat would make an open offer to acquire an additional 20% stake in Reliance Communications from the public, the newspaper reported, citing market sources.

Shares in state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp were up 2.2% at Rs1,170.05. An Oil India official said state explorers such as ONGC and Oil India began charging higher gas prices from Tuesday.

ONGC Chairman R.S. Sharma had said last week that the company would annually gain about 55 billion rupees in revenue and Rs3500 crore in net profit due to revised gas prices.

Shares in energy major Reliance Industries, which has the highest weighting in the benchmark index, were up 0.6% at Rs1,017.60.

Reliance could invest in coal-based power plants due to the surging demand for electricity in the fast-growing country, the Economic Times reported on Wednesday.

In the broader market, 1,446 gainers led 915 losers on relatively low volume of 86 million shares.