Monday, October 25, 2010

India Shares End Higher; Hopes Of Strong 2Q Spur Liquidity

MUMBAI (Dow Jones)--Indian shares ended higher Monday as investors resumed buying on hopes of continued strong fiscal second quarter results after consumer goods maker Hindustan Unilever announced robust earnings.

Liquidity also returned to the markets after the close of Coal India\'s $3.43 billion initial public offering last Thursday, with the 30-stock Bombay Stock Exchange\'s Sensitive Index rising 137.26 points, or 0.7%, to close at 20,303.12.

The Sensex traded between 20,199.73 and 20,452.30 during the session, and 23 of the 30 stocks closed higher as the index recovered from a 0.5% decline Friday.

On the National Stock Exchange, the 50-stock S&P CNX Nifty gained 39.75 points, or 0.7%, to finish at 6,105.80.

\"Investors are buying after blue-chip Hindustan Unilever was the latest Sensex stock to announce strong second quarter earnings, further cementing the street view of a robust 2Q earnings season,\" said K.R. Choksey Securities managing director Deven Choksey.

Buying was also seen ahead of index heavyweight Reliance Industries\' second quarter earnings Saturday, Choksey said.

However, Ajit Surana, managing director at Dimensional Securities, said he expects markets to be range-bound this week ahead of the upcoming Reserve Bank of India policy meeting on Nov. 2.

He tips the Sensex to trade in the 20,000-20,650 range this week, with the Nifty likely trading between 6,000 and 6,200.

Trading volume on the BSE fell to INR47.83 billion from Friday\'s INR58.66 billion. Gainers outnumbered decliners 1,544 to 1,304, while 243 stocks were unchanged.

The Sensex has risen 26% from a low of 15,960.15 on May 25, buoyed by strong foreign fund inflows, normal monsoon rains and supportive global equity markets.

According to data on the Securities and Exchange Board of India, foreign funds had purchased a record $24.48 billion of shares this year through Friday.

Nine of the 13 sectoral indices ended Monday higher, with the consumer durable index leading gains with a 2.4% rise to 6,460.53.

Hindustan Unilever, India\'s largest consumer goods maker by sales, closed up 1.4% at INR305.65 after it beat market expectations with a 32% year-on-year jump in fiscal second quarter net profit to INR5.66 billion. Sales grew 11% to INR46.81 billion.

Other major gainers included Reliance Industries, the country\'s largest company by market value, which closed 0.8% higher at INR1,090.35. Housing Development Finance Corp. closed up 2% at INR706.75, while ICICI Bank gained 0.9% to INR1142.10.

Laggards included software firm Wipro, which fell 4% to INR430.30 due to the lower-than-expected quarterly earnings it announced Friday.

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