Indian shares end at 3-week low; sentiment still weak

Mon Feb 4, 2013 4:57pm IST

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* BSE ends down 0.15 pct; NSE falls 0.2 pct
    * Budget, fiscal steps key for near term
    * BOB, IDFC fall after Dec-qtr earnings disappoint

    By Manoj Dharra
    MUMBAI, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Indian shares fell to a three-week
low on Monday after disappointing quarterly earnings hit Bank of
Baroda and IDFC, while investors continued to book profits in
recent outperformers such as ONGC.
    Broader losses were capped as Tata Motors and UltraTech
Cement rebounded from Friday's steep falls when the two stocks
were affected by a technology glitch at a domestic brokerage
that resulted in "unintended transactions." 
    Sentiment has been dented ever since the Reserve Bank of
India disappointed investors on Jan. 29 with a more cautious
than expected stance on future rate cuts. The BSE index 
has fallen 1.44 percent since then as of Monday's close.
    Analysts expect trading to remain rangebound in the lead-up
to the presentation of the 2013/14 federal budget on Feb. 28.
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has reiterated his commitment to
controlling spending, especially at a time when India faces
fiscal and current account deficits.
    "There is a big gap between the previous trigger that is RBI
rate cut and the next which is the budget, so there is some
profit-booking in the interim," said G Chokkalingam, Executive
Director & Chief Investment Officer, Centrum Wealth Management.
    The BSE index fell 0.15 percent, or 30 points, to
end at 19,751.19, marking its lowest close since Jan. 11. 
    The broader NSE index fell 0.19 percent, or 11.65 
points, to end at 5,987.25, closing below the psychologically
important 6,000 level.
    Bank of Baroda shares slumped 7.36 percent after
the lender said October-December net profit fell 21.6 percent
from a year earlier to 10.12 billion rupees, while
non-performing assets rose.  
    Shares in IDFC Ltd fell 5.42 percent after the
lender and consultant for infrastructure projects registered
weak loan growth in the December quarter and reported an in-line
profit growth. 
    Jubilant Foodworks Ltd dropped 5.3 percent after
reporting a smaller-than-expected 28 percent rise in quarterly
net profit, with margins also falling short of market
expectations. 
    Investors also booked profits in recent out-performers. Oil
and Natural Gas Corp shares fell 1.94 percent, down
for a second consecutive session, after surging 26.8 percent in
January. 
    State Bank of India fell 2.5 percent, posting its
fifth losing session out of the past six.
    However, Tata Motors Ltd gained 3.67 percent and
UltraTech Cement Ltd ended up 3.24 percent after each
briefly plunged as much as 10 percent on Friday. 
    Religare Capital Markets said on Saturday a technology
glitch at the brokerage had caused "unintended transactions" in
the shares of Tata and UltraTech. 
    Power Finance Corp Ltd rose 3.55 percent and Rural
Electrification Corp Ltd shares gained 5 percent on
speculation the government is preparing to offer new incentives
to revive stalled power projects. 
    ICICI Bank Ltd added 1 percent after falling 3.4
percent in the previous two sessions.  

 (Additional reporting by Abhishek Vishnoi; Editing by Jijo
Jacob)
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