Noon: Markets trade choppy, State Bank, realty up

Noon: Markets trade choppy, State Bank, realty up

New Delhi: Indian shares were choppy on Monday, with little direction from world markets, but expectations for more rate cut bolstered real estate firms and some banks.

Top lender State Bank of India was up 1.4% at Rs1,305.50 after it said over the weekend it would cut lending rates by 75 basis points from 1 January, raising expectations other banks would follow suit.

Leading listed realty DLF rose 4% to Rs319.55, while rival Unitech jumped 8.3% to Rs47.90. High lending rates have slowed the sale of houses and commercial properties and dampened the realty firms’ earnings. DLF is down 70% on the year, while Unitech has tumbled 90%.

Cement shares rose after the government lifted a ban on exports imposed in May, as price pressures eased and domestic demand was depressed due to a slowdown in construction activity.

Still, investors were cautious ahead of the monthly derivatives settlement on Wednesday, traders said.

“People are looking for clear international cues. The auto loan in the US is positive move but it’s a temporary relief," said Vinod Bansal, director at investment advisory firm Ficuswealth.

At 11:21am, the benchmark 30-share BSE index was up 0.22%, or 21.84 points, at 10,121.75, with 19 components rising. The index opened 0.02 percent higher and then flipped between positive and negative.

The 50-share NSE index was up 0.35% at 3,088.35.

It rose 4.2% last week, its second weekly gain in a row, but is down more than half in 2008.

Indian policy makers have slashed rates and cut duties to shore up growth in Asia’s third-largest economy, which has been slowing faster than expected due to high interest rates and the global financial crisis.

Last week the Congress party-led coalition asked parliament for Rs42,480 crore ($9 billion) in extra spending for the fiscal year ending in March and the deputy chairman of India’s plan pannel said there may be a need for more fiscal stimulus.

Shares in top petrochemicals maker Reliance Industries were down 0.5% at Rs1,343. The stock accounts for nearly 15% of the index, the heaviest weightage.

Tata Motors <TAMO.BO> rose 4.3% to Rs186.95 after the Financial Times reported the firm had agreed to pump in “tens of millions" of pounds into Jaguar and Land Rover to prevent an immediate cash flow crisis.