Sensex ends four-day losing streak; GDP, flows on watch

MUMBAI Fri May 24, 2013 5:00pm IST

1 of 2. A broker works while sitting in front of a screen displaying live stock quotes on the floor of a trading firm in Mumbai May 23, 2013.

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - The BSE Sensex snapped a four-day losing streak to edge higher on Friday, rebounding as Tata Steel surged after its March-quarter operating profit beat analyst estimates and as recently beaten-down blue-chips such as Larsen & Toubro recovered.

Sentiment improved after foreign institutional investors extended their record net purchases of Indian stocks to a twenty-sixth consecutive session on Thursday, despite worries the Fed may unwind its stimulus earlier than expected.

Still, doubts persist about how long foreign investors will continue to buy, while investors are also growing wary ahead of January-March economic growth data next week which will likely confirm whether the economy has gained some traction on the government's reform moves and the central bank's rate cuts.

Both the BSE Sensex and Nifty posted their first weekly fall in six, ending a powerful rally since mid-April.

"GDP data may point out any recovery but inflows in light of recent fall in crude oil prices is much more important in the near term," said Deven Choksey, managing director of K R Choksey Securities.

The benchmark BSE Sensex rose 0.15 percent, or 30 points, to end at 19,704.33, but was down 2.9 percent for the week, marking its biggest weekly fall since the week ended on March 24.

The broader Nifty rose 0.28 percent, or 16.50 points, to end at 5,983.55, but ended 3.3 percent lower for the week, also its biggest weekly fall since late March.

Tata Steel Ltd (TISC.NS) shares rose 4.5 percent after its January-March quarterly operating profit beat analysts' estimates despite posting its third straight quarterly loss on Thursday.

Larsen & Toubro Ltd (LART.NS) climbed 2.7 percent after falling 12 percent over the previous two sessions on lingering disappointment over its January-March profit and outlook.

Shares in United Breweries Holdings Ltd (UBHL.NS) jumped nearly 10 percent after news channels CNBC-TV18 and ET Now reported the Karnataka High Court has allowed UBHL to sell its shares in group company United Spirits Ltd (UNSP.NS) to Diageo Plc (DGE.L) to complete the long-pending deal.

However, drug makers continued to reel from individual events.

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (SUN.NS) fell 3.7 percent after its subsidiary Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd's (TARO.N) March-quarter results came below estimates.

Shares in Wockhardt Ltd (WCKH.NS) slumped 6 percent continuing their fall after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration imposed an "import alert" on a plant operated by the generic drugmaker.

Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd (RANB.NS) fell 1.2 percent, ending down a for a second consecutive session after majority shareholder Daiichi Sankyo Co (4568.T) said it believed former shareholders of the Indian company hid information regarding U.S. regulatory probes.

(Editing by Sunil Nair)

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