MUMBAI The Nifty edged up on Wednesday as cement stocks such as UltraTech Cement rose on value buying, but broader gains were capped as foreign investors turned modest sellers while caution also prevails ahead of the expiry of May derivatives.
Overseas investors sold shares worth 2.03 billion rupees ($34.4 million) on Tuesday, their third session of selling in four, provisional exchange data showed, although aggregate net purchases totalled $11.6 million over the four sessions.
Although the sums are modest, given inflows into shares this year still reaching $7.68 billion, it was seen reflecting some of the waning momentum after shares had hit a string of record highs, including most recently on March 16 when the Bharatiya Janata Party won a clear majority in the country's elections.
Investors now await actual measures from the government, while caution also prevails ahead of the expiry of derivative contracts on Thursday and the Reserve Bank of India's policy review on June 3.
Hemant Kanawala, head of equity at Kotak Life Insurance, advised investors keep faith in new Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Have faith in the new prime minister for taking the right decisions," he told Reuters. "He has given the direction and there would be continuous monitoring of the ministerial appointments."
The Sensex rose 0.03 percent, or 6.58 points, to end at 24,556.09.
The Nifty advanced 0.16 percent, or 11.65 points, to end at 7,329.65.
Cement makers led gainers as the sector is still seen by some analysts as offering good bargains at a time of growing hopes that the new government would turn to infrastructure projects to help boost economic growth.
UltraTech Cement rose 4.9 percent, after falling 2.9 percent as of Tuesday since the week ended on May 16, during when the NSE gained 1.6 percent.
Ambuja Cements rose 5.4 percent after falling 7.1 percent since May 16 until the previous close on profit-taking.
Shipping Corp of India Ltd surged 13.8 percent after the company on Tuesday posted its first quarterly net profit since the July-September quarter in 2012 on improving performance in its bulk shipping and liner businesses.
ICRA jumped 17.6 percent after global ratings agency Moody's raised its existing tender offer price to 2,400 rupees per share from 2,000 rupees per share in its continued bid to increase its stake in the domestic company.
Larsen & Toubro gained 0.7 percent after the company said it got orders for $480 million in Bangladesh.
However, Jet Airways (India) Ltd, part-owned by Abu Dhabi's Etihad, fell 8.7 percent after the carrier posted a record quarterly loss partly as a result of higher jet fuel expenses and a one-time charge on a unit.
Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd fell 1.4 percent after quarterly earnings at unit Taro Pharmaceutical Industries failed to beat some analyst estimates.
(Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)