Shares choppy; RCom gains

Shares choppy; RCom gains

Mumbai: Indian shares seesawed on Thursday, with uncertainty about the impact of weak monsoon rains on the domestic economy and doubts about the sustainability of global recovery keeping investors wary.

However, some long-term investors looked to enter the market after it fell 2.85% over the first three days of the week, lending support to the main index.

No. 2 IT-services exporter Infosys Technologies, which gets most of its revenue from the United States, fell as much as 1.4% after a US labour market report showed more private-sector job losses in August than forecast. Later it erased losses and was up 0.4 percent at Rs2,174.05.

Smaller rival Wipro was flat at Rs555.05.

Reliance Communications rose 4.6% to Rs288.85, extending gains of 4.6% on Wednesday after the No. 2 mobile operator said it had repaid early more than $1 billion of loans, about one-fifth of its outstanding loans, and could repay more debt ahead of schedule.

Non-ferrous metals producer Sterlite Industries gained 2.3% to Rs649.90 after Shanghai copper prices rose almost 1% on Thursday while London futures drifted lower as prices stabilised after falls this week.

Other major gainers included government-run State Bank of India, which climbed 0.9% to Rs1,750, and private-sector rival ICICI Bank that advanced 1.1% to Rs744.50.

“The market is just taking its time and digesting the recent rally. Very evidently, it is consolidating," Hitesh Agrawal, head of research at Angel Broking, said.

By 11:36 am, the 30-share BSE index was up 0.44% at 15,535.67 points, with 26 stocks advancing, after falling as much as 0.4% earlier.

The benchmark had fallen for three straight sessions as profit-taking emerged in equity markets worldwide, after rising for seven days for the first time in 4-“ months.

Analysts say a rush of liquidity pouring into emerging markets will support stocks in the near term as investors look to buy on dips even though worries about a weak monsoon, high valuations and looming inflation weigh.

“We have seen buying at every dip. But now there is a lack of news flow, and there are no big triggers in the short term," Agrawal said.

“We will track international market for the short term until probably the second-quarter results come out."

Investors are also awaiting weekly data on monsoon rains - shaping up to be the worst in four decades - and reservoir levels on Thursday.

India warned on Tuesday that wholesale price inflation could end the fiscal year above the central bank’s forecast of 5% as a poor monsoon drives up food costs, adding to a chorus of warnings on prices.

The wholesale price index (WPI) is forecast to have fallen 0.87% in the year to 22 August, smaller than the previous week’s annual decline of 0.95%, a Reuters poll of 13 economists showed on Wednesday. The data is due at around 0630 GMT.

In the broader market, gainers led losers 2 to 1 on relatively moderate volume of 130.5 million shares.

The 50-share NSE index was up 0.55% at 4,633.50.

Asian shares were mixed, with Japan’s Nikkei down 0.4%, while MSCI’s measure of other Asian markets rose 0.7%.