India shares fall amid global uncertainty; HDFC Bank gains on earnings
MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Indian shares fell after a volatile trading session on Friday as uncertainty ahead of French election and slowing foreign participation prompted investors to book profits in some index heavyweights.
The benchmark BSE Sensex index declined 0.2%, or 57.09 points, to 29,365.30, while the broader NSE Nifty 50 ended 0.2% lower, or 17 points, at 9,119.40. The indices fell 0.3% each for the week, recording their second-straight weekly decline.
Indian stocks have largely traded in a range during the last two weeks after hitting record highs on April 5, as increased valuations and weaker-than-expected earnings from some major companies kept demand subdued. Investors were also cautious because of the French presidential elections that start Sunday. A victory for the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen could spell uncertainty for the euro zone, as the leader has vowed to pull France out of the European Union if she wins.
January-March earnings due from companies including Reliance Industries, Axis Bank and UltraTech Cement would set the course for markets next week, analysts said.
"The French election is one of the reasons that led to the fall in markets. Some amount of profit taking was seen," said Krish Subramanyam, co-head, equity advisory at Altamount Capital. "Apart from a general decline in foreign fund inflows, on the derivatives front, foreign investors are going short. Also for some time now, markets have been skeptical about valuations."
The Nifty index is witnessing strong technical resistance at 9,200, Subramanyam said.
Foreign investors have net sold $367 million worth shares this month until Thursday against a net purchase of $5.23 billion last month, the biggest monthly inflow ever, according to National Securities Depository Ltd.'s data.
Twenty two of the 30 Sensex constituents ended lower, while overall declining issues edged past advancing ones 1,449 to 1,426 and 139 stocks were unchanged.
Among the key losers, cigarette-maker ITC fell 1.8% to 274.35 rupees, marking its biggest loss since Mar. 22. Top private lender ICICI Bank shed 1.3% to close at 269.15 rupees, taking its two-day decline to 4.2%.
Mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corp. slid 0.7% to 1,507.15 rupees, paring a part of the 1.8% advance in the previous session.
HDFC Bank, India's biggest lender by market value, rose 2.4% to 1,496.75 rupees after reporting a better-than-expected 18.2% on-year rise in fiscal fourth quarter profit .
Reliance Industries, India's largest private company by revenue, advanced 2.2% to 1,399.75 rupees ahead of quarterly earnings due Monday.
Sun Pharmaceutical Industries fell for a fifth consecutive session, declining 2.4% to 640.05 rupees. The drug maker lost 7.5% for the week on reports that its Dadra plant has received 11 observations following a U.S. Food and Drug Administration audit. The western India facility is Sun's second biggest for drug supplies to the U.S.
Elsewhere in Asia, China's Shanghai Composite index ended little changed and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed 0.1% lower. Japan's Nikkei 225 index gained 1%, while South Korea's Kospi index rose 0.7%.
--Dhanya Ann Thoppil