Markets at 2-month closing low; SKS soars

Markets at 2-month closing low; SKS soars

Mumbai: Indian shares declined 1.7% to their lowest close in more than two months on Friday, after posting their second straight weekly decline, with dwindling foreign fund inflow hinting the rally may have run out of steam.

Energy major Reliance Industries topped the losses, while SKS Microfinance rebounded after tumbling on Thursday.

The 30-share BSE index closed 1.73%, or 345.20 points, lower at 19,585.44 points, its lowest close since 16 September.

Declining shares were more than three times advancing ones in the broader market, in a volume of 392 million shares, 6% lower than the 30-day average volume.

The index fell 2.8% this week, but is still up more than 12% year-to-date, backed by foreign portfolio investment of $28.5 billion in Indian primary and secondary equities.

But foreign fund interest has slowed down this week, raising concerns if it was time to start booking gains.

“We are going through a correction in the middle of an intermediate uptrend,’ said Nandip Vaidya, president of brokerage IIFL. “More clarity from overseas has to emerge for a better picture of the market in the near term," he added.

In comparison, Brazil’s Bovespa and Russia’s RTS Index have gained 3.2% and 11.1%, respectively, year-to-date. China Shanghai Composite Index declined 11.9%.

The 50-share NSE index, or Nifty, dropped 1.8% to 5,890.30 points on Friday.

Energy giant Reliance Industries, which has the maximum weighting on the 30-share main index, fell 3.5% due to lack of near-term positive triggers, dealers said.

The stock has been a laggard this year and is down 8.5% in 2010.

Financials declined as investors opted to lock in profits after the sharp surge year-to-date. The banking sector index shed 2.1%, but is still up 36.6% in 2010.

Leading lenders State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank dropped between 1.4% and 2.4%.

SKS Microfinance rose as much as 10%, when its chairman told a local television channel the company has not seen any banks withdrawing support despite a clamp down by a state on industry collection practices.

The stock, which had fallen as much as 20% in the previous session, also got a boost from a rating upgrade by Kotak Securities.

Second-largest mobile operator Reliance Communications and real estate firm Unitech, which has a telecoms joint venture with Norway’s Telenor extended their losses from the previous session, dropping 3.6% and 4.6%, respectively.

The fiercely competitive mobile phone industry in India has been beset by a fresh wave of regulatory uncertainty stemming from a possible probe into 2G spectrum that a government audit says was awarded too cheaply.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.5% by 3:48pm, while the MSCI’s measure of Asian markets other than Japan was barely changed.


Hero Honda climbed 1.7% to 1,945.70 as it extended gains after brokerage Credit Suisse upgraded the top motorcycle maker to “outperform" from “neutral".

Uflex rose 1.6% to 246.95 after the plastic packaging goods maker said on late Thursday it expects a profit of 8 billion rupees on revenue of 35 billion rupees in FY11 on the back of rising demand for polyester films.