Sensex was flat as Reliance Industries (RIL) dropped ahead of its quarterly earnings due out later on Friday,while traders also booked profits on recent gains in the past four-session winning streak.
Reliance is expected to report net profit dropped 16 percent to 45 billion rupees ($865.47 million),slightly above the 43.3 billion mean forecast from a poll of analysts.
The country’s main 30-share BSE index and the 50-share NSE index were both flat on the day.
Sensex opens 111 pts up
The BSE Sensex rose for a fourth consecutive session on Thursday,as auto stocks extended a rally while Infosys recovered from recent sharp losses,though plenty of caution remains in the midst of the corporate earnings reporting season.
Traders are particularly looking forward to earnings from blue chip Reliance Industries on Friday,which could help determine market direction in the near term,dealers said.
Investors are also hoping for a removal of the uncertainty behind a financial proposal dubbed GAAR,which was part of the fiscal 2013 budget unveiled in mid-March.
The bill would retroactively tax indirect foreign investments,and some analysts have blamed the stagnation in Indian stock markets since then to that proposal.
“In April,markets would remain range-bound and may retest to 5,145 levels,” said Prakash Diwan,head of the Institutional Clients Group at Asit C.Mehta Investment Intermediates.
“Fresh allocations would happen in May after Finance bill gets passed in the first week and more clarification comes on so-called GAAR.”
The Sensex rose 0.6 per cent to 17,503.71 points,while the Nifty advanced 0.6 per cent to 5,332.40.
The four-day winning streak was the longest one since the gains in the four sessions to March 14.
Auto makers led gainers,with the BSE auto index ending up for a sixth straight session after hitting a new all-time high.
Expectations that auto sales will improve after this week’s aggressive interest rate cut from the Reserve Bank of India is helping sustain the rally in auto shares.
Tata Motors (TAMO.NS) rose 3.1 per cent while Maruti Suzuki (MRTI.NS) gained 2.9 per cent.
Infosys ended up 1.4 per cent,as the nearly 14 per cent drop since it disappointed investors with its revenue outlook on Friday was seen as overdone.
Shares in HDFC Bank rose strongly for a second day,advancing 3.1 per cent and earlier touching a record high of 555.60 rupee,after the private lender posted on Thursday a 30.3 per cent rise in quarterly net profit.
However,among decliners,Bharat Heavy Electricals lost 3.9 per cent after Morgan Stanley resumed coverage of the stock with an “Underweight” rating citing an over-supplied power equipment market among other factors.
ACC,India’s No. 2 cement maker,dropped 3.8 per cent after reporting a 57 per cent fall in quarterly profit due to a one-time charge.
PRE-OPEN: Indian stocks to watch-April 20
GLOBAL MARKETS ROUNDUP
* Asian shares slipped on Friday following disappointing U.S. labour data,while the yen weakened after the Bank of Japan flagged the prospect of further monetary easing.
* US stocks fell for a second day on Thursday as labor market data showed more signs of weakness,while a warning from Qualcomm and poor results from Stanley Black & Decker also discouraged investors.
KEY EVENTS TO WATCH
* Reliance Industries’ fiscal fourth quarter earnings will be in focus.
StarMine estimates the Indian giant will report 33% jump in its revenues to 969.68 billion rupees while its net profit is likely to dip over 16% to 45 billion rupees.
OTHER FACTORS TO WATCH
* Indian debt/FX factors to watch
* Dovish BOJ dogs yen; euro survives French scare
* Crude steady,gasoline down as supply worries ease
* Foreign institutional investor flows
* For closing rates of Indian ADRs