Market declines in choppy trading

NEW DELHI — Indian shares fell 0.5 per cent on Monday in choppy trading, led down by index heavyweights Reliance Industries and ICICI Bank, with inflation rekindling concerns about tight policy.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Tue 19 Aug 2008, 11:09 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:54 AM

Export-driven software services companies such as Infosys Technologies, which gets more than half its revenue from the United States, bucked the trend and rose as the rupee fell to its lowest in one and a half months.

Traders said sentiment was weighed down by a rise in oil prices and a pick-up in foreign withdrawals, which have topped $6.8 billion this year on worries about an economic slowdown and falling corporate earnings growth.

"The negatives remain where they were. Oil prices have started rising, at home you have inflation," said Gajendra Nagpal, CEO at Unicon Financial. "The market does not look that attractive after the recent upmove."

The 30-share BSE index closed 0.53 per cent, or 78.52 points, down at 14,645.66, with 21 components falling. The benchmark fluctuated between losses of 0.8 per cent and gains of 0.7 per cent during trade.

Oil, India's biggest import, was trading above $114 a barrel after falling to nearly $111 last week.

"Oil will be the biggest trigger going forward," Nagpal said. "The market is going to remain like this until we come across the next big event."

Foreign funds had pulled out $353.7 million from Indian shares in the last three sessions and the outlook is anything but bright because of risk aversion. The BSE index is down nearly 28 per cent this year, but up 16 per cent from its 2008 low.

Bellwether Infosys rose 0.8 per cent to 1,702.40 rupees, while larger rival Tata Consultancy firmed 1.2 per cent to 841.80 rupees and the sector index gained 0.75 per cent as the rupee fell against the dollar.

Top private sector firm Reliance Industries fell 2.2 per cent to 2,224.95 rupees, on concerns refining margins could come under pressure as demand drops.

Most of the banks reversed early gains on concerns of lower loan growth as inflation hit a fresh 13-year high of 12.44 per cent and raised worries of further monetary tightening.

No. 2 lender ICICI Bank lost 1.2 per cent to 665 rupees, while leader State Bank of India was little changed at 1,457.75 rupees. In the broader market, decliners outpaced gainers almost two to one on volume of about 212 million shares.

The 50-share NSE index fell 0.85 per cent to 4,393.05.

Elsewhere in the region, Karachi's 100-share index jumped 4.5 per cent in the biggest one-day rise in nearly eight weeks, as investors anticipated an end to Pakistan's political turmoil after President Pervez Musharraf's resigned.

Colombo's All-share index slipped 0.12 per cent to 2,428.89.

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