MUMBAI (Reuters) - The BSE Sensex fell for a fourth consecutive session on Monday to post its lowest close in July as doubts about whether the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will cut rates hit some interest rate-sensitive stocks such as DLF.
India said June headline inflation rose a lower-than-expected 7.25 percent from a year ago, but core inflation was estimated at 4.85 percent, unchanged from levels in May.
Traders are split about whether the RBI will deliver a cut in the repo rate at its July 31 policy review, especially since weaker-than-expected rain falls during the monsoon season are raising concerns about higher food prices.
The government is also expected to tackle policy reforms after presidential elections on Thursday. Action such as raising diesel prices to lower India’s subsidy burden would help sentiment, but could also raise inflationary worries.
“Inflation figures would not change a thing for RBI, as core inflation, although looking under control, has not come off substantially,” said Sandeep J. Shah, chief executive officer at Sampriti Capital.
The 30-share BSE Sensex fell 0.64 percent to 17,103.31 points, to mark its lowest close since June 28.
The 50-share Nifty lost 0.57 percent to end at 5.197.25 points.
A rally in Indian stock markets has stalled in July, as investors have booked profits in some outperformers, while caution has set in ahead of the RBI meeting and ahead of any potential government measures.
After surging 7.5 percent in June, the BSE index has fallen 1.9 percent this month, compared with a 0.9 percent fall in the MSCI Asia-Pacific index excluding Japan.
DLF (DLF.NS), India’s biggest property firm, fell 1.35 percent, reflecting the uncertainty about the outlook for interest rates.
Among other decliners, Infosys (INFY.NS) dropped 2.6 percent, and has now fallen 12.1 percent over the past three sessions, as the software services exporter still reels from disappointing earnings results out on Thursday.
Rival Tata Consultancy Services (TCS.NS), which posted better earnings, fell 3.4 percent, after gaining 1 .1 percent on Friday.
Goldman Sachs on Monday trimmed its global technology spending forecast to 3 percent from 4 percent for calendar year 2012, citing lower economic growth in advanced economies, and a lower global fixed investment forecast.
Tata Motors (TAMO.NS) shares fell 2.8 percent after the auto maker said its unit Jaguar Land Rover sold 28,215 vehicles in June, below market expectations for 29,000 units.
However, among gainers, shares in Bharti Airtel (BRTI.NS) rose 3.77 percent on expectations for a favourable decision as the telecom ministry meets on Wednesday to decide on which prices to charge for 2G radio airwaves at an upcoming auction.
Lupin (LUPN.NS) shares rose 3 percent after Citigroup raised its target price to 640 rupees from 570 rupees, saying the drug maker would see “healthy” growth and “improved profitability” in each of its key markets at home, the United States, and Japan.
Additional reporting by Manoj Dharra; Editing by Rafael Nam