Sensex ends 0.8% down on banks fall

Sensex ends 0.8% down on banks fall

Mumbai: Indian shares shed 0.9% on Thursday as investors locked in profits in stocks such as State Bank of India and ICICI Bank that had rallied this month.

The tone was set by a pull back in Asian markets and signs of fatigue after a rally this year. A faster-than-expected 9.1 percent rise in India’s industrial output in September from a year ago also failed to lift the market.

“The market had moved up in anticipation of good news. So, with evidence coming in that recovery is on track, early investors are booking profits," said A.V. Srikanth, executive director of private wealth management at Anand Rathi Financial Services.

The 30-share BSE index closed down 0.91%, or 153.57 points, at 16,696.03, after rising 2.5% on Wednesday. Seventeen of its components declined. The 50-share NSE index closed 1% lower at 4,952.65.

The benchmark is up 5% this month after it shed 7.2% in October, when it had registered its worst monthly fall.

“The volatility we are seeing is a tussle between people who have come in earlier and are wanting to book profits and those who missed the rally earlier and are trying to enter now," Srikanth said.

For the year so far, the index is up 73%, powered by foreign fund inflows of $14.6 billion.

Tata Steel fell as much as 3.5% after the company approved a new convertible bonds offer in exchange for an existing $875 million securities and lowered the share conversion price to Rs605.53 from from Rs733.

“I think the company was not confident of its stock reaching that price, which means it would face a big redemption in a single year," said Pawan Burde, sector analyst at Mumbai-based PINC Research.

“This probably reflects their concerns over growth amid the downturn in the global steel industry," he said. The stock closed 2.8% lower at Rs511.85.

State Bank closed 3.5% lower at Rs2,295.90 while ICICI and HDFC Bank shed 3.2% and 1.1% respectively.

“The near-term outlook for banks is uncertain," Srikanth said. “For banks, credit growth is yet to revive; treasury gains may not stay and higher provisioning may hit profits for 1-2 quarters."

The sector index closed 2.5% lower, but is up 8.5% this month.

Infosys Technologies rose 0.6% to Rs2,322.70 after its business process outsourcing arm said it agreed to acquire US-based McCamish Systems.

“IT stocks look good with hiring plans picking up, demand outlook improving and on earnings visibility," said Mehul Dedhia, assistant vice-president of sales at brokerage Sharekhan.

Sector leader Tata Consultancy and smaller rival Wipro gained 1.4% each.

In the broader market, losers outpaced gainers in a ratio of 1.2:1 on relatively higher volume of 516 million shares.