Sensex hits 20,000 in trade; ITC, telecom carriers surge

MUMBAI Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:49pm IST

1 of 2. A broker reacts during trading at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai September 2, 2008.

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - The BSE Sensex rose for a second successive session on Tuesday to touch two-year highs as ITC advanced ahead of its earnings on Friday, while wireless carriers jumped on speculation about tariff hikes.

Shares continue to be supported after the government on Monday delayed the implementation of controversial rules on tax avoidance and lower-than-expected inflation numbers bolstered the case for a cut in interest rates.

However, until the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) policy review on January 29, analysts expect earnings to remain the key drivers for Indian shares, as investors look for signs that profits will improve this year on the back of a recovery in economic growth.

"Market would remain strong on the back of continued liquidity and Q3 earnings would mark the bottoming of earnings growth for India Inc," said Rajen Shah, chief investment officer, Angel Broking

In financial year 2013-14, Sensex EPS should grow by 13-14 percent, added Shah.

The BSE Sensex ended up 0.4 percent, or 80.41 points, at 19,986.82, its highest close since January 6, 2011. It had earlier breached the psychologically important 20,000 level.

The broader Nifty rose 0.54 percent, or 32.55 points, to end at 6,056.60, closing above 6,000 for the second day.

Cigarette maker ITC (ITC.NS) rose 2.2 percent, after already gaining 1.7 percent on Monday as investors bet October-December earnings due would show continued growth.

ITC has posted double-digit net profit growth in the previous two quarters of the fiscal year that started in April 2012.

Shares in Axis Bank (AXBK.NS) gained 2.8 percent after the private bank reported a better-than-expected 22 percent rise in net profit in the December quarter, while non-performing assets fell to 0.33 percent versus 0.39 percent year ago.

Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS.NS), India's largest software services exporter, ended up 0.2 percent after gaining as much as 4.9 percent at one point, a day after posting better-than-expected earnings.

Among telecoms operators, Bharti Airtel Ltd (BRTI.NS) shares rose 5 percent to their highest since March 2012, while Idea Cellular Ltd (IDEA.NS) surged 8.4 percent to its highest close since February 2008 on speculation the mobile carriers may soon raise voice call tariffs, several traders said.

Both companies declined to comment on the market rumours.

India's mobile phone market -- the world's second-biggest by customers -- has not seen any meaningful increase in call prices in the last three years after a vicious price war sent call charges tumbling.

Shares in SpiceJet Ltd (SPJT.BO) gained 4.09 percent after the Times of India newspaper reported the budget carrier was close to selling a stake to a foreign carrier, citing unidentified sources.

Maruti Suzuki Ltd (MRTI.NS), India's largest car maker, gained 0.45 percent, after the company said it will raise vehicle prices by up to 20,000 rupees.

Among stocks that fell, IT outsourcer Infosys ended 0.7 percent lower, hit by profit-taking after surging 20.85 percent in the previous two sessions on the back of better-than-expected earnings on Friday.

Jaiprakash Power Ventures Ltd (JAPR.NS) shares dropped 5 percent, falling for a second day on fears of equity dilution after its board approved raising up to 35 billion rupees and also reported a loss of 976 million rupees for the December quarter.

(Additional reporting by Manoj Dharra; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)

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