India shares post first fall in 3 days as stronger rupee hurts software stocks
MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Indian shares fell for the first time in three days on Monday amid concerns a strengthening rupee would hurt software exporters. Idea Cellular plunged after announcing a merger with Vodafone's India unit.
The benchmark BSE Sensex fell 0.4%, or 130.25 points, to 29,518.74, while the broader NSE Nifty 50 index ended 0.4% lower, or 33.20 points, at 9,126.85 points. The index had hit record levels last week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party secured a big win in elections in India's most-populous state Uttar Pradesh.
Infosys declined 1.9% to 1,020.60 rupees, leading a gauge of software companies lower by 1.4%, weighed by a sustained rise in the rupee against the U.S. dollar. Tata Consultancy Services, India's biggest company by market value, fell 1.8% to 2,480.80 rupees and Wipro ended 1.4% lower at 496.85 rupees.
India's software exporters, who get more than 60% of their revenue from the U.S, see significant impact on earnings from foreign exchange fluctuations. The rupee hit a near 17-month high against the dollar on Monday, driven by continued foreign fund inflows into stocks. Overseas investors had net purchased $2.66 billion of local stocks this month until Friday.
"The market is under a breather after the rally led by state election results and supportive foreign fund inflows," said Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Services. "Still, the euphoria remains intact on expectation of further reforms from the government, and any dip is likely to be considered as an opportunity to accumulate."
Sixteen of the 30 Sensex constituents ended lower, while overall on the BSE, declining issues edged past advancing ones 1,488 to 1,307 and 228 issues were unchanged.
Idea Cellular, a part of the Nifty index, slumped 9.6% to 97.60 rupees, reversing initial gains after announcing the merger with Vodafone that will create India's biggest telecom operator. According to the terms of the merger, Vodafone will own 45.1% in the combined entity while founders of Idea will hold 26%.
Oil & Natural Gas Corp. rose 0.4% to 190.65 rupees on a media report that the state-run company has signed a pact to buy Gujarat State Petroleum Corp.'s entire 80% stake in KG-basin natural gas block for $1.2 billion.
Energy conglomerate Reliance Industries, the best performing stock in the last one month, declined 1.6% to 1,280.35 rupees.
HCL Technologies closed 0.2% down at 863.30 rupees. The company's board is set to announce details of a share buyback later Monday.
Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.8% and China's Shanghai Composite index rose 0.4%. South Korea's Kospi index ended 0.4% lower.
--Dhanya Ann Thoppil