Losses in Reliance Industries, the country’s most valued company, and in metals as well as weak cues from regional peers pulled down Indian shares Thursday.
The Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensitive Index lost 101.07 points, or 0.6%, to end at 16,327.84. The benchmark traded between 16,287.17 and 16,452.51 during the day.
“We saw a 400 point rally on the Sensex over the past couple of days, but it proved to be more of investors covering their short positions rather than genuine buying. Therefore, with a lack of conviction of further gains, investors booked profits today,” said Rajen Shah, chief investment officer, Angel Broking.
On the National Stock Exchange, the 50-stock S&P CNX Nifty fell 30.05 points, or 0.6%, to 4,883.95.
Shah expects the Sensex to trade in the 15,500-16,500 band until the federal budget is announced next week.
The government will announce on Feb. 26 its budget for the next fiscal year that begins April 1.
Total traded volume on the BSE fell to INR39.91 billion Thursday from Wednesday’s INR45.14 billion. Decliners outnumbered gainers 1,748 to 1,070, while 86 stocks were unchanged.
Reliance Industries slipped on an Economic Times report that the company may have to raise its offer for bankrupt petrochemicals firm LyondellBasell Industries as the target company’s management has reached a pact with its creditors valuing it at more than Reliance’s current bid of $13.5 billion.
Reliance, which has a 13.85% weight in the Sensex, ended 3.4% lower at INR997.40.
Metals fell after hefty gains over the past two sessions and tracking cues from the London Metal Exchange, where base metal prices slipped more than 1% on the dollar’s strength. The 15-stock BSE Metal Index lost 1.4% to 16,209.81.
Tata Steel fell 1.3% to INR577.35, Vedanta Resources-owned Sterlite Industries lost 2.6% to INR768.50 and aluminum major Hindalco Industries slid 0.5% to INR152.10.
State-run Rural Electrification Corp.–which provides long-term loans for power transmission, distribution and generation projects–lost 2.7% to INR214.25 after the government fixed the floor price of its proposed follow-on offering at INR203 a share.