Markets set for fourth straight weekly gain

Markets set for fourth straight weekly gain

Mumbai: Indian shares looked set to rise for a fourth week in a row, bolstered by strong foreign fund inflows, as they edged up 0.3% on Friday, shrugging off weak Asian equities.

Cigarette-to-hotel business ITC and India’s largest household products maker Hindustan Unilever led the gains, riding on the strong domestic consumption story.

ITC rose as much as 2.3% to its all-time high of Rs180.70 while Hindustan Unilever surged 4.8% to Rs317.25, its highest in a decade.

At 11:33am, the 30-share BSE index was up 0.28% at 19,916.65 points, with 18 of its components advancing. It has gained 1.7% so far this week.

“It does not look like huge upside left for the market in the near term. That said, there are no big immediate risks to pull the market down either," said Neeraj Dewan, director of Quantum Securities.

Dewan said a consolidation was likely and he expected Sensex to move in a 19,500-20,500 points band in the near term and that the next trigger in sight was September-quarter earnings.

Foreign funds have pumped in $17.3 billion in Indian equities so far in 2010, driving the main stock index 14.1% higher from a year earlier. This follows net inflows of $17.5 billion in 2009, which had led to an 81-percent rally in the benchmark.

Telecom stocks gained with leading operators Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications trading 3.2% and 2.4% higher respectively, picking up after being the only two Sensex stocks which declined in 2009.

Outsourcer Mahindra Satyam dropped 3.6%.

“Optimism in Satyam’s growth prospects is being driven by overall buoyancy in demand seen in the Indian IT sector," CLSA said in a note on Thursday. “However, we do not expect Satyam’s growth to follow the sector prospects in FY11 or even in FY12."

In the broader market, advancers were more than double the number of decliners in a volume of 210 million shares.

The 50-share NSE index was up 0.2% at 5,972 points.

The MSCI’s measure of Asian markets other than Japan was down 0.1%, while Japan’s Nikkei dropped 1%.


Sun Pharmaceutical rose 1.6% to Rs1,918.95, as the drugmaker’s board approved a 5-for-1 stock split

Hotel chain EIH was up 2.8% at Rs143,75, after the firm said its board approved raising up to Rs1300 crore through a rights issue of shares.

State-run explorer Oil and Natural Gas Corp rose 1.7% to Rs1,445.60, after it said on Thursday two exploration discoveries have been notified to Directorate General of Hydrocarbons.