The BSE Sensex was subdued on Friday as some profit-taking emerged after the index rose more than 3 percent in the last three sessions, and as weak Asian markets ahead of key U.S. jobs data dented investor sentiment.
Still, the benchmark index is set to post its fifth consecutive weekly rise, boosted by a revival in foreign fund inflows and hopes of a reduction in interest rates by the country's central bank to boost growth.
Bharti Airtel(BRTI.NS) was up 2.4 percent at 395 rupees, extending its gains of nearly 7 percent in the previous session, as analysts expect the top mobile operator to benefit from the Supreme Court ruling on Thursday to revoke 122 licences.
Citigroup said in a note that the development was positive for players like Bharti as it would lower competition and give better pricing power. The brokerage said it maintained its buy rating on Bharti.
The main 30-share BSE index was down 0.19 percent at 17,397.79 by 10:20 a.m., with 14 of its components falling.
Some correction was expected after the recent gains, but as long as the foreign inflows remain strong I don't think we will see a sharp fall from these levels, said K.K. Mital, head of portfolio management at Globe Capital Market in New Delhi.
The BSE index is up nearly 13 percent this year, bolstered by surging overseas portfolio investments. Foreign investors bought shares worth about $2 billion last month, helping the benchmark post its best January rise in 18 years.
The index declined nearly 25 percent in 2011, as surging inflation and interest rates dimmed the growth outlook for Asia's third-largest economy and company earnings. The global economic uncertainty also triggered a flight from risky assets.
Analysts said investors were picking up stocks from select sectors such as banks and infrastructure on hopes of rate cuts by the central bank and some positive economic data, though concerns remain about the health of the global economy.
India's manufacturing sector grew at its fastest pace in eight months in January as factory output surged the most on record on increased domestic and foreign demand, a business survey showed on Wednesday.
The services sector grew at its fastest pace in six months during January as new business swelled, extending the previous couple of months' positive trend into the new calendar year, a survey showed on Friday.
Shares in Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd (REDY.NS) rose 1.6 percent to 1,658 rupees ahead of its quarterly earnings. The No. 2 drugmaker by sales is likely to post a jump in third-quarter profit helped by launch of new generics in its main U.S. market.
Syndicate Bank Ltd (SBNK.NS) gained 2.6 percent to 101.70 rupees. The state-run bank said late on Thursday its board would consider on February 11 a proposal to issue shares to the government on a preferential basis.
The 50-share NSE index .NSEI was down 0.16 percent at 5,261.75 points. In the broader market, there were 1.3 gainers for every loser on relatively strong volume of more than 190 million shares.
STOCKS ON THE MOVE
* UltraTech Cement (ULTC.NS), India's largest cement maker, was up 0.5 percent at 1,270 rupees after its shipments in January rose an annual 11.2 percent.
* Hotel chain operator EIH Ltd (EIHO.NS) gained 1.7 percent to 91.40 rupees after it reported a 59 percent rise in quarterly net profit.
* Drugmaker Aanjaneya Lifecare rose 2.5 percent to 552.10 rupees after it agreed to buy Apex Drugs & Intermediates Ltd.