BSE Sensex hits 2013 low; M&M, ACC fall after results

MUMBAI Fri Feb 8, 2013 5:55pm IST

A trader looks at a screen at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai March 7, 2008. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files

A trader looks at a screen at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai March 7, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Arko Datta/Files

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - The Sensex fell for a seventh session on Friday to the lowest close this year as India's biggest utility vehicle manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd (MAHM.NS) and cement makers Ambuja Cements Ltd (ABUJ.NS) and ACC Ltd (ACC.NS) retreated after their earnings missed estimates.

During the week, the Sensex fell 1.5 and Nifty lost 1.6 percent, posting their biggest weekly losses since September 1, as the government's weaker-than-expected GDP growth forecast of 5 percent on Thursday disappointed the market.

However, inflation and industrial output data are the next key tests for the market, after the Reserve Bank of India disappointed investors on January 29. Earnings of blue-chip companies such as Tata Motors Ltd (TAMO.NS) and State Bank of India will also be key for further direction.

"The Pressure of fiscal deficit and inflation is still persisting. Falling GDP growth to sub-5 levels is also causing lots of concerns," said K. K. Mital, Head of Portfolio management at Globe Capital.

The Sensex fell 0.49 percent, or 95.55 points, to end at 19,484.77, its lowest close since December 31.

The index fell for a seventh day to mark its biggest losing streak since November, 2011.

The Nifty fell 0.59 percent, or 35.30 points, to end at 5,903.50, after falling below key 5,900 levels intraday.

The MCX-SX stock exchange will launch equities trading on Monday. Volumes will be watched, given its history of competition with the National Stock Exchange.

Mahindra and Mahindra shares ended 1.34 percent lower after the company reported a 26 percent increase in its quarterly profit, which lagged street estimates, as a slide in its operating margin offset strong SUV sales growth.

Shares in cement companies fell after their October-December earnings failed to impress the markets. ACC ended 3.02 percent lower, while Ambuja Cement lost 5.2 percent.

Hindalco Industries Ltd (HALC.NS), part of the Aditya Birla group, fell 3.22 percent after reporting a 3.8 percent fall in its October-December net profit at 4.34 billion rupees that had a higher share of other income.

However, broader losses in Indices were offset by gains in software services exporters such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS.NS), which rose 2.6 percent, and Wipro Ltd (WIPR.NS) which ended 1.6 percent higher after Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp's (CTSH.O) quarterly profit modestly beat estimates.

The results confirm that revenues of Indian software services exporters continue to outperform Cognizant's, making the U.S.-listed IT company still not too much of a competitive threat.

Exide Industries Ltd (EXID.NS) shares gained nearly 6 percent. A company source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Friday that Exide will raise prices for replacement auto batteries by 5-6 percent due to rising input costs.

(Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)

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