While stock-specific buying and consistent buying by foreign funds kept underlying sentiment firm, reports showing a further decline in exports in April and rating agency Fitch's warning that India needs to cut its budget deficit to avoid having its credit rating lowered, prevented an intra-day recovery.
Meanwhile, after increasing for three consecutive weeks, the inflation rate for the week ended May 2 fell to 0.48% from previous week's 0.70%, official data showed on Thursday. The wholesale price-based index stood at 8.73% in the corresponding week a year ago.
After moving choppily in a range of 11,936- 11,696, the BSE Sensex closed off the day's lows at 11,873, down 147 points or 1.22%. Likewise, the S&P CNX Nifty recouped some of its loss to finish at 3,594, down 42 points or 1.15%.
However, second-line stocks outperformed the benchmarks. On the BSE, the market breadth was slightly positive, with gainers outnumbering losers by 1263 to 1213. The mid-cap index rose 0.41% and the small-cap index added 0.57%, but the broad-based BSE 500 index ended down 0.54%.
Sector-wise, while select realty and auto stocks showed some resilience, stocks in the oil & gas and capital goods segments closed sharply lower. Consumer durable stocks such as Titan and Bluestar and several stocks in the public sector also closed firm.
Among the major decliners, Sterlite Industries tumbled 5.52%, Tata Motors fell 3.04%, Wipro declined 2.78%, Larsen & Toubro lost 2.55% and ONGC closed down 2.43%. Bharti Airtel, ICICI Bank, Sun Pharma, HDFC, Reliance Industries, BHEL and Tata Power were the other prominent losers.
On the other hand, DLF surged up 7.18%, Ranbaxy Laboratories rallied 3.66%, Reliance Infrastructure advanced 2.03% and Hindustan Unilever rose 1.29%. Reliance Communication, Maruti Suzuki, State Bank of India and HDFC Bank also ended in positive terrain.
Power distribution company Power Grid Corporation closed up 0.55% on reports that it will raise up to Rs.3, 000 crore through issue of bonds by August this year. Sugar producer Bajaj Hindusthan rose 1.56% after its board approved a resolution to raise over Rs.75.60 crore through issue of 1.45 crore warrants to the promoters.
Dolphin Offshore Enterprises was locked at the 20% upper circuit limit after its board approved a 2:5 bonus issue to its shareholders. Whirlpool of India was also locked at the 20% upper circuit limit after it reported a more than 100% jump in its net profit for the 12 months to March.
Non-banking finance company Shriram Transport Finance shed 2.10% amid reports that it plans to set up a wholly owned subsidiary for conducting equipment finance business in the next 3-4 months. Bharti Airtel tumbled 4.13% after Singapore telecom company Singtel, which holds a 30% stake in Bharti, reported a 17% fall in its profit for the fourth quarter ended March.
Auto major Mahindra & Mahindra said that an industrial court has termed the 10-day old tool down strike by the company employees at the Nashik plant as illegal and unjustified. The court has asked the agitators to report to work within 48 hours, the company said in a filing to the stock exchanges. The stock closed down 0.19%.
Tata group company Rallis India gained 2.06% on reports that work at its additional manufacturing facility at Dahej in Gujarat is progressing satisfactorily and the plant will start commercial production by June. JK Lakshmi Cement surged up nearly 20% after its net profit for the March quarter jumped 54% to Rs.104.08 crore from Rs.67.63 crore in the same quarter a year ago.
Elecon Engineering rallied 6.07% after the company forecast 20% growth in sales in the current financial year. Lyka Labs fell 4.80% on saying that Lyka BDR International has become a subsidiary of the company.
FourSoft advanced 3.28% after it successfully implemented WMS software at Midi Integrated Logistics BV, Netherlands. Aditya Birla Nuvo rose 2.64% even as it reported a forced operational shut down at its ammonia and urea plants in Jagdishpur.
Among shipping stocks, Essar Shipping surged up 18.72%, GE Shipping rallied 5.96%, Shipping Corporation of India added 2.59% and Mercator Lines soared 6.87% after Baltic Dry Freight Index, a measure of shipping costs for commodities such as iron ore, cement, grain, coal and fertilizers, jumped 3.50% to 2,332, a new 2009 high.
Graphite India rallied 4.67% after around 11 lakh shares were traded in a block deal on the Bombay Stock Exchange. Balaji Telefilms tumbled 5.36% on reporting a net loss of Rs.14.63 crore in the fourth quarter ended March compared to a net profit of Rs. 23.85 crore in the same quarter last year.
Bajaj Auto surged up 7.49%, Idea Cellular rose 0.84% and United Phosphorous jumped nearly 6% after MSCI Inc, a leading provider of investment decision support tools worldwide, added these stocks to the MSCI India index effective from May 29. On the other hand, Essar Oil, Indian Hotels and Tata Communications slumped due to the exclusion of these stocks from the MSCI index.
Reliance topped the traded value with trades of Rs.241.28 crore, followed by DLF (Rs.222.49 crore), Reliance Capital (Rs.187.58 crore), HDIL (Rs.180.71 crore) and Reliance Infrastructure (Rs.171.07 crore).
Unitech topped the traded value with trades of over 17 million shares, followed by Suzlon (13.69 million), Reliance Natural Resources (10.28 million), HDIL (10.04 million) and IDFC (9.79 million).
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