Sensex bounces back to end above 16,000; telcos lead

Sensex bounces back to end above 16,000; telcos lead

Mumbai: Indian shares climbed nearly 1% on Thursday, with bruised telecom stocks among the gainers, as bargain hunters stepped in towards the close after the market fell more than 2%.

Bharti Airtel, the country’s top mobile operator, and rival Reliance Communications rose 4.5% and 5.3% respectively after they had slumped in the past one month.

“I think these stocks are a good buy from a medium to long-term perspective," said K.K. Mital, head of portfolio management services at Globe Capital. “Negatives were more than priced in the sharp fall we saw."

The stocks were also helped by an Economic Times report that the telecom ministry would seek a fast-track approval from the finance ministry to cut the annual licence fee paid by large operators by up to a third.

Bharti and Reliance Communications are still down nearly 24% and more than 42% respectively since the start of October, on disappointing September quarter results and a pricing war.

The 30-share BSE index closed up 0.95%, or 151.77 points, at 16,063.90, after falling as much as 2.2% earlier in the day. Twenty-three of its components gained.

The sentiment was also helped after data from the finance ministry showed April-October direct tax receipts rose 3.9% from a year earlier to Rs1.73 trillion ($36.8 billion).

R. Ganesh, director of Systematix Shares, said investors were returning to beaten down sectors and predicted the market to pull ahead.

“Some consolidation is not ruled out from here, but the medium to long-term outlook is definitely bullish," he said.

The stock market has been volatile in recent sessions, with the benchmark index rising 3.3% on Wednesday after falling 8.4% over six sessions.

Energy giant Reliance Industries closed 1% higher at Rs1,939.80, as the hearing in its gas dispute with Reliance Natural Resources resumed.

One of the judges had withdrawn from the Supreme Court hearing on Wednesday, citing potential conflict of interest.

The country’s second-largest outsourcer, Infosys Technologies, closed 0.7% lower at Rs2,223.10 after its chairman’s wife sold company shares worth $92 million for setting up a venture capital fund.

Sudha Murthy, wife Infosys co-founder and chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy, sold 2 million shares, or about 22% of her total holding.

Engineering and construction firm Larsen & Toubro shed 0.3% to Rs1,542.25 after The Financial Express reported its outsourcing unit was in talks to buy a majority stake in Patni Computer Systems.

Patni Computer jumped 8.2% to Rs494.50.

In the broader market, gainers more than doubled the number of losers on relatively moderate volume of 399 million shares.

The 50-share NSE index closed 1.2% higher at 4,765.55.