* BSE ended 0.51 pct down; NSE fell 0.58 pct
* Tata Motors shares slump on JLR margin concerns
By Manoj Dharra
MUMBAI, Jan 24 Indian shares fell on Thursday as
Tata Motors Ltd slumped after the company issued a
profit warning at its key Jaguar Land Rover unit, while Reliance
Industries retreated as an expected increase in gas
prices may be less favourable to private companies.
Housing Development & Infrastructure Ltd tumbled
on speculation the property developer was facing financial
trouble, despite a denial from a senior executive.
However, Larsen & Toubro Ltd provided some
positive news as its shares rose after its October-December
earnings showed order inflows above expectations.
Investors are gearing up for more results from blue chips
such as Maruti Suzuki India Ltd and a critical Reserve
Bank of India decision on interest rates on Tuesday while
expectations from the federal budget remain high.
"The earnings season so far is fairly in line, but budget,
RBI policy are the next big cues," said Nilesh Shetty, Fund
Manager at Quantum Asset Management Company.
"Valuations are not as attractive compared to a year ago,
What worries me is the kind of stocks moving higher now," Shetty
The benchmark BSE index fell 0.51 percent, or
102.83 points, to end at 19,923.78.
The broader NSE index fell 0.58 percent, or 34.95
points, to end at 6,019.35.
Tata Motors shares ended 6.26 percent lower after the
company said its Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) unit was likely to
report a lower profit margin in the October-December quarter.
The warning, issued late on Wednesday, came as a surprise
given that Tata shares had hit a record high earlier this month
on a rally sparked by expectations of improving sales at JLR,
and optimism about the launch of new models.
Reliance Industries ended 0.8 percent lower, as an
oil ministry proposal to raise local gas prices is expected to
apply with immediate effect to state-run producers such as Oil
and Natural Gas Crop but not to the private sector
counterparts until April 2014.
The oil ministry would soon submit its gas pricing proposal
to the cabinet, a ministry official told Reuters on Wednesday.
Reliance Communications Ltd shares slumped 9.14
percent on Thursday, a day after its consolidated net profit
fell a sharper-than-expected 44 percent to 1.05 billion rupees
for the December quarter.
However, ONGC rose 1 percent on expectations of gas price
increases. Bank of America Merrill Lynch upgraded its rating on
the state-run oil producer to "buy" from "neutral" due to the
DLF Ltd gained 0.2 percent. Goldman Sachs upgraded
its rating on DLF to "buy" from "neutral", citing upcoming
residential project launches worth 130 billion rupees ($2.42
billion) over the next three quarters.
Larsen & Toubro rose 1.5 percent after the
construction and engineering company reported a
stronger-than-expected rise in October-December net profit and
reiterated its order guidance.
(Additional reporting by Abhishek Vishnoi; Editing by Anupama