Markets close down 1% over RBI hike concerns

Markets close down 1% over RBI hike concerns

Mumbai: Indian shares fell for the third straight session and shed 1% on Thursday as financials fell on worries of a rate hike next week by the central bank, but IT firm Infosys Technologies hit its all-time high.

The country’s second-largest outsourcer rose as much as 1.5% to a record high of Rs2,823.80, before closing up 0.7%, on a strong sales forecast that indicated a healthy demand outlook for outsourcing services.

Rivals Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro rose 0.1% each, lifting the sector index to its highest in three years.

The benchmark 30-share BSE index closed down 1.03%, or 182.70 points, at 17,639.26, its lowest close in April. Nineteen of its components closed in the red.

“All the positives are priced in. The market has digested all positive news flow. It is waiting for new ones to come in," said Arun Kejriwal, director of research firm KRIS.

Asia’s third-biggest economy will grow at annual rates above 8% in coming quarters and is seen expanding 8.4% for the 2010-11 fiscal year, a Reuters poll of 20 analysts released on Wednesday showed.

Foreign funds have poured nearly $5.3 billion into equities so far this year, including in primary market offerings.

Financials declined on continued concerns the central bank was likely to raise key rates at its policy review next week, even as India’s annual inflation rose less than expected in March.

Leading lenders State Bank of India and ICICI Bank dropped 1.8% and 2.6%, respectively.

Mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corp closed 1.8% lower.

Energy giant Reliance Industries, which has the highest weight on the Sensex, declined 2.7% to Rs1,090.25.

“Late in the afternoon, some players were unwinding their long positions in frontliners like Reliance," said Deven Choksey, managing director and CEO of KR Choksey Shares.

Top vehicles maker Tata Motors outperformed the broader market and rose 0.1% as it said global sales of its vehicles in March rose 39% from a year ago.

In the broader market, declining shares outpaced advancing ones in a ratio of 1.4:1 on volume of 508 million shares, higher than that on Tuesday.

Indian markets were closed on Wednesday for a public holiday.

The 50-share NSE index closed 0.9% lower at 5,273.60 points.