Sensex down 0.1%; telcos rise

Sensex down 0.1%; telcos rise

Bangalore: Shares were down 0.1% on Tuesday in choppy trade as mixed Asian markets failed to provide direction to a market where volumes were sluggish with most investors off for year-end holidays.

Telecom counters gained ground following Monday’s profit sales in India’s leading mobile operators Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications.

Tata Steel, the world’s seventh-largest steel maker and the largest shareholder in Africa-focused miner Riversdale, gained 0.3% after it said late Monday that it had not yet decided whether to counter Rio Tinto’s $3.9 billion bid for the company.

“Nothing is happening in the market. There is neither buying interest or hard-pressed commitments in the market. This is keeping the market flat," said independent consultant S.P. Tulsian.

By 12:22 pm, the 30-share BSE Index was trading down 0.01% at 20,016.42 points, with 18 of its components advancing. The benchmark has traded in a narrow band of 82.25 points in the session.

However, most investors are optimistic a robust growth outlook for the Indian economy bodes well for the domestic equities market in 2011, when they expect foreign funds to pour in as India continues to provide attractive investment options.

The benchmark index has notched up a gain of 14.8% so far this year, boosted by robust foreign fund inflow of $28.4 billion into Indian equities, set to be a record yearly inflow.

On Tuesday, Reliance Communications was up 1.2%, while Bharti Airtel rose 0.7%.

Top Indian outsourcers Tata Consultancy Services and No. 3 exporter Wipro added 0.2 % and 1.3% respectively on optimism about the sector’s growth. However, India’s second-largest IT firm Infosys Technologies was down 0.1% at Rs3,374.25.

Metal counters rode up tracking gains in global base metal prices. Sterlite Industries and Hindalco added 0.1% each. In the broader market, gainers were almost neck-to-neck with the number of losers.

The 50-share NSE index was down 0.2% at 5,987.85 points.

The MSCI’s measure of Asian markets other than Japan was down 0.04%, while Japan’s Nikkei dropped 0.6%.