Sensex Snaps 3-day Win; RIL Falls, Maruti Gains
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Energy giant Reliance Industries, which has the heaviest weight on the main index, dropped 3 percent after it reported on Thursday quarterly profit that lagged street expectations due to flat production from gas blocks and disappointing refining margins.
Maruti Suzuki reversed early losses and closed up 1.4 per cent after the top car maker, posted slightly higher quarterly earnings and beat estimates, as strong demand helped offset the impact of rising input costs.
The 30-share BSE index declined 0.09 per cent, or 17.92 points, to 19,584.31 points in a choppy trading session, with 18 components losing ground.
The 50-share NSE index shed 0.2 per cent to 5,874.50. Market breadth was negative, with losers beating gainers in the ratio of 1.3:1 in the broader market.
Around 488 million shares changed hands on the NSE, sharply lower than the 30-day average daily volume of 630 million.
"Reliance pulled the market down. Sterlite and Maruti surprised people and, together with State Bank of India, saved it from a big damage though," said Prakash Diwan, head of institutional business at Networth Stock Broking.
Non-ferrous metals producer Sterlite Industries jumped 4.2 percent, after it posted a 35 percent increase in its March-quarter net profit.
Over the weekend, the central bank relaxed provisioning norms for banks, which could help banks post higher profits.
Top lender State Bank of India, which was cited by analysts as one of the main beneficiaries of the Reserve Bank's move, climbed 2 percent.
Upgrades by JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse also helped the stock.
Diwan said he expected trade to continue to be volatile until most of the larger companies complete reporting results.
Net foreign portfolio investments totalling $3.5 billion, have driven the BSE main index more than 10 percent higher since March.
Confidence in the country's robust economic growth story prompted foreign funds to return to invest in Indian equities, after being net sellers in January and February.
The MSCI All-Country World Index was down 0.1 percent by 1035 GMT, while the emerging markets sub-index traded barely changed.
Stocks That Moved
* Jindal Steel and Power dropped 0.9 percent to 689.10 rupees after it reported March-quarter consolidated net profit at 10 billion rupees, almost unchanged from a year ago.
* Indiabulls Financial Services rose 1.1 percent to 182.75 rupees after it said net profit for fiscal 2011 more than doubled to 7.43 billion rupees, helped by growth in long-term, low-risk mortgage loans and falling delinquency levels.
* Wockhardt firmed 1.7 percent to 359.50 rupees after the drugmaker said it got U.S. regulatory approval for a generic version of Aricept tablets used to treat Alzheimer's disease.
Main Top Three By Volume On NSE
* Alok Industries on 20.8 million shares
* Suzlon Energy on 20 million shares
* Sterlite Industries on 16.7 million shares