Markets end flat ahead of US jobs report

Markets end flat ahead of US jobs report

Mumbai: The BSE Sensex logged its fourth weekly gain in five weeks, but edged 0.1% lower on Friday, as investors were nervous ahead of key US jobs data due later in the day.

Jobs data due at 6:00pm, was expected to show the US labour market shed 100,000 jobs in August as the jobless rate crept higher to 9.6%, according to a Reuters forecast.

Conglomerate Reliance Industries weighed on the index, falling 1.2% amid ongoing concern about its diversification from its core energy business.

The stock, which has the heaviest weighting in the main index, has underperformed the benchmark in 2010 with a 15% decline.

The 30 share BSE Sensex closed 0.09% or 16.88 points lower at 18,221.43 points, with 17 of its components in the red. It added 1.2% this week.

“The mood is very cautious before the US employment data. A lot depends on how the numbers turn out," said Vaibhav Sanghavi, director of Ambit Capital. “It is a stock pickers’ market right now. There is more action in specific stocks, linked to related news flow."

Sanghavi expects trade to be range bound next week.

Foreign funds have pumped $13 billion into Indian equities this year, including primary market offerings, driving the benchmark index 4.3% higher. Last year’s record $17.5 billion in inflows drove an 81% gain in the benchmark.

For the year to date, India’s benchmark has outperformed broader indexes such as MSCI’s measure of Asian markets other than Japan, which has dropped 0.5%, and emerging markets index which has gained 1.2%.

Mahindra Satyam (SATY.BO) rose 10.7% -- the most in 10 months after it said late on Thursday it won a multi-million dollar technology services deal from a large health insurer.

Other export-oriented software firms were mixed ahead of U.S. jobs data. Top outsourcer Tata Consultancy Services and rival Wipro fell 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively. Infosys Technologies climbed 0.8%.

Lenders ended mixed on a tussle between a hawkish interest rate outlook as food and fuel inflation accelerated, and rising loan demand in the world’s second-fastest growing major economy.

Top lender SBI and private lender HDFC Bank firmed 0.6% each while ICICI Bank dropped 0.3%. Mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corp shed 0.2%.

In the broader market, advancing shares outnumbered declining ones by 1.3:1 on relatively light volume of 411 million shares.

The 50-share NSE index shed 0.1% to 5,479.40.

Elsewhere, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.4% at 1036 GMT, while MSCI’s measure of Asian markets ex-Japan gained 0.5%.

STOCKS

Trent, controlled by the diversified Tata Group, rose 5.5% to Rs1,131.05. The retailer said Reliance Capital Asset Management, part of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group, had acquired 8.68% in the company.

Steel Strips Wheels gained 5.5% to Rs256.35 after the automobile wheel rims maker said it won new export orders from Europe.

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