Markets end 0.4% down led by Reliance, ICICI

Markets end 0.4% down led by Reliance, ICICI

Mumbai: Indian shares shed 0.5% on Friday after soft US data pulled world markets lower, but the underlying sentiment was upbeat with the domestic economy picking up steam.

The main index ended the week up 2.8%, thanks to an early surge following an unexpectedly robust 7.9% economic expansion in the September quarter and accelerating automobile sales in November.

“Economic fundamentals are improving and growth is picking up. So any steep downside is ruled out," said Sandip Sabharwal, CEO of portfolio management services at Prabhudas Lilladher.

Energy giant Reliance Industries shed 1.1% to Rs1,089.05 as traders booked profits. The stock still notched a 3.8% gain on the week.

Top private lender ICICI Bank shed 1.4% to Rs871.35 after rising nearly 5% earlier in the week.

The 30-share BSE index closed down 0.49% at 17,101.54 after rising 0.6% at one stage. For the week, it more than made up for a 2.3% fall in the previous week. The 50-share NSE index closed 0.4% lower at 5,108.90.

“It is just consolidating," Sabharwal said, who expects the benchmark to reach 18,000 by mid-January.

The index has risen about 77 percent in 2009, helped by foreign portfolio inflows of almost $16 billion.

K.K. Mital, head of portfolio management services at Globe Capital, expects the market to test new highs in the second half of 2010 backed by global recovery.

“The concerns, however, are how the market reacts to withdrawal of stimulus and funding of deficit globally," he said.

Leading mobile operator Bharti Airtel rose 1 percent to 309.85 rupees, topping the gainers chart.

“We resume coverage on Indian telcos with a neutral sector view as we believe that the majority of the sector’s underperformance led by a decline in tariffs is behind us," Goldman Sachs said in a note.

It said Bharti was its top pick in the Indian telecom sector with a 12-month target price of Rs365.

The stock has shed nearly 26% since the start of October.

IT bellwether Infosys Technologies climbed as much as 2% early after a newspaper report it was one of three IT vendors selected by Wal-Mart Stores for multi-year contracts worth more than $600 million.

It shed most of the rise and ended up 0.25%, while sector leader Tata Consultancy firmed 0.8 percent. Wipro dropped 0.3%.

In the broader market, losers outpaced gainers in a ratio of 1.1:1 on moderate volume of 407 million shares.