Markets turn negative on weak Asia

Markets turn negative on weak Asia

Mumbai: Indian shares, which seem on course to post their fifth straight quarterly rise with a modest gain, were trading up 0.1% in seesaw trade on Wednesday morning. Top mobile operator Bharti Airtel led the gains.

Bharti Airtel rose as much as 2.7% after it clinched a deal late Tuesday to buy most of the African operations of Kuwait’s Zain for $9 billion.

“Africa is the next region set for industrial growth. It is all about getting hold of an asset when an opportunity arises," said Sandeep Sabharwal, CEO of portfolio management services at brokerage Prabhudas Lilladher.

“Bharti’s Zain assets buy is similar to Tata’s move to acquire Corus, Jaguar and Land Rover," he said, adding, concerns of crowding in the domestic market and price wars will continue to weigh on Bharti’s margins in the near term.

The stock pared some of the early gains and was up 1.6% at Rs315.80.

By 10:43am, the 30-share BSE index was trading up 0.09% at 17,605.40, with 17 of its components gaining. The 50-share NSE index were barely changed at 5,261.95 points.

The benchmark is up 0.8% so far this year, and is up around 7% in March. It is up 81% in the fiscal year to March.

Foreign funds have poured in around $4 billion in Indian stocks this year, most of which came in the current month.

“For the next quarter, the factors within India look decent, but it remains to be seen how things pan out globally," said Sanjeev Patkar, director of research at Almondz Global.

Patkar expects banking and pharmaceutical stocks to lead the market in the April-June quarter.

The BSE IT index was up 0.5% after declining 4.5% in the previous three sessions. “IT stocks should be stable in the next quarter. If the rupee appreciates, the companies are well placed to manage the scene," said Patkar.

“They now have the ability to manage prices better and also there is better visibility of order flow," he added.

Sector leader Tata Consultancy Services rose 0.2% while rivals Infosys Technologies and Wipro were up 0.7% and 1% respectively.

Energy giant Reliance Industries, which has the highest weight on the Sensex, dropped 0.9%. Financials edged higher on promising long-term outlook. Top lender State Bank of India and private lender HDFC Bank rose 0.7%.

In the broader market, gainers led losers in a ratio of 1.8:1 in a volume of 89 million shares.