Markets fall 3rd day; RIL, banks drop

Markets fall 3rd day; RIL, banks drop

Mumbai: Shares fell for a third consecutive session on Thursday to their lowest close in more than a week as a weakening rupee added to the worries about fading outlook for corporate earnings.

The main 30-share BSE index shed 1.17%, or 183.92 points, to 15,543.93, its lowest close since 20 December. Twenty four of its components declined.

The benchmark has lost 2.7% over the past three sessions and is on track to post its biggest annual fall in three years, having dropped 24% since the start of January.

Energy major Reliance Industries, which has been under pressure due to falling gas output from its field off the country’s east coast, led the losses.

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Mint’s Krishna Merchant says Indian markets continued to underperform for the third consecutive day over renewed fears of about the euro zone and a gloomy outlook for corporate earnings.

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The stock dropped 3.7% to Rs711.90, its lowest close in more than 2 years.

Investors also dumped banks amid mounting concerns about bad loans as delays in projects and sharp increases in interest rates dented the ability of borrowers to repay loans.

“The worry for the banking sector is on the provisioning side and not on the credit side," said Deven Choksey, chief executive officer at K.R. Choksey.

“....because many infrastructure projects are either going slow or have been stalled for some reason, there will be an impact on the quarterly earnings for banks."

Top private-sector lender ICICI Bank and smaller rival HDFC Bank slipped 1.6 and 2.3% respectively.

The BSE’s banking sector index has plunged near 30% year to date.

The rupee fell as much as 0.8% on concerns worsening European economy could accelerate foreign fund withdrawals from India.

Many companies that had borrowed overseas to beat high domestic rates are facing higher costs due to the rupee’s slide. Risk-aversion among banks has also pushed up the cost of offshore debt.

Top car maker Maruti Suzuki fell 3.9%, while truck, utility vehicle and car maker Tata Motors shed 0.6%.

Export-focused software services bellwether Infosys fell 1.4% on concerns Europe’s debt crisis could dent global technology spending.

The 50-share NSE index fell 1.27% to 4,646.25 with 38 of its components ending in red. In the broader market, there were 1.7 losers for every gainer on total volume of 686.5 million shares.

The MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.4% while Japan’s Nikkei was down 0.3%.

Stocks that moved

• Dr Reddy’s Laboratories rose 0.15% after the drugmaker launched pain relief cream Supamovetm in India.

• DLF fell 3.1%. The property developer sold a unit to an affiliate of US private equity firm Blackstone for $153 million, which brokerage Edelweiss said was in line with the company’s guidance on asset monetization and was already factored in the share price.

• PG Electroplast, Brooks Laboratories, RDB Rasayans, Taksheel Solutions, Tijaria Polypipes, Onelife Capital Advisors and Bharatiya Global Infomedia fell between 4-18% after the market regulator banned them from accessing the securities market.

• Grasim Industries rose 2.3% after its parent Aditya Birla Group announced an investment of $500 million over the next five years in Turkey.

• 3i Infotech rose 0.4% after its board approved a corporate debt restructuring.