Sensex trades 200 points lower; Bharti Airtel, HUL fall

Among the sectoral indices, the BSE FMCG index was the top sectoral loser, down 1.5%

 Equity benchmark Sensex fell over 200 points on Monday before the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) bi-monthly monetary policy review on Tuesday, led by losses in shares of FMCG, banking, metal and oil and gas companies.

The central bank will announce its bi-monthly policy on 3 February where it is expected to keep interest rates unchanged after a surprise cut in January. Rates are likely to gradually head lower. However, all eyes will be on RBI’s guidance regarding the quantum of rate cuts, with expectations ranging from 50 basis points to 100 basis points during the course of 2015, Mint reported. One basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point.

At 12.11pm, the 30-share S&P BSE Sensex was down 0.72%, or 208.70 points, at 28,971.35 points, while the National Stock Exchange’s broader 50-share Nifty was down 0.59%, or 51.70 points, at 8,757.20 points.

Among the gainers, Wipro Ltd rose 2.2% to Rs.619.25 while Hindalco Industries Ltd rose 2.1% to Rs.142.75.

Among the losers, Bharti Airtel Ltd fell 3% to Rs.361.80 while Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) fell 2.8% to Rs.906.90.

Among the sectoral indices, the BSE FMCG index was the top sectoral loser, down 1.5%, followed by the Bankex which was down 1.2%. The metal and oil and gas indices were down 0.3% and 0.2% respectively. The IT index was the top sectoral gainer, up 1.1%, followed by the realty index which was up 0.8%. The Teck and capital goods indices were up 0.7% each. The healthcare and power indices were up 0.4% each.

India changed its method of measuring economic growth, which meant Asia’s third-largest economy grew 6.9% in the year through March 2014 instead of the previously reported 4.7%, the government said 30 January.

Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd rose 2% to Rs.934.50 after the US Federal Trade Commission gave a conditional nod for its proposed $ 4-billion merger with Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. Shares of Ranbaxy rose 3.1% to Rs.725.60.

Bajaj Auto Ltd fell 2.1% to Rs.2,339 after the company’s January sales fell 9% to 28,8746 units.

Tech Mahindra Ltd rose 2% to Rs.2,931.45. The company on Friday reported a better-than-estimated 11.8% sequential growth in net profit for the December quarter and declared a bonus. The company also announced a stock split.

Eicher Motors Ltd rose 2.1% to Rs.16,638.95 after the company’s January sales increased to 3,262 units from 2,608 in the same month last year.

Adani Enterprises Ltd rose 2.2% to Rs.643.25 after the company on Friday outlined plans for a major business reorganization aimed at unravelling its corporate structure and unlocking shareholder value. The group intends to move away from the holding company structure and move towards one in which it will have four independent, listed entities for its four major business segments.

Jet Airways India Ltd rose 1.6% to Rs.523 while SpiceJet Ltd rose 3.4% to Rs.22.95 after oil companies cut jet fuel prices by 11.3%.

IFCI Ltd rose 2.5% to Rs.38.65 after reports that the company has decided to sell its 2.5% holding in stock exchange NSE in the next 15 days, which may fetch the financial institution about Rs.500 crore.

Growth in India’s factory activity slipped in January from December’s two-year high as new orders rose at a weaker rate despite factories keeping price increases to a minimum, a business survey showed on Monday.

Cooling growth and inflation could give the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) reason to cut interest rates again in the coming months but any move may depend on the government’s annual budget due on 28 February.

The HSBC Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), compiled by Markit, fell to a three-month low of 52.9 in January from December’s two-year high of 54.5.

Bharat Forge Ltd, Cummins India Ltd, GIC Housing Finance Ltd, Indian Bank, JSW Energy Ltd, Religare Enterprises Ltd and Strides Arcolab Ltd are some of the companies that will release their earnings for the December quarter on Friday.

So far in 2015, the Sensex has gained 5.8%, while foreign institutional investors have bought $ 2.02 billion from local equity markets and bought $ 3.34 billion from debt markets.

Asia markets were trading lower after China’s factory sector shrank in January for the first time in more than two years, the latest signal that the country’s growth slowdown is set to persist. China’s Shanghai Composite fell 2%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.5% and Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average 0.6%. China’s manufacturing sector contracted for a second consecutive month in January to 49.8 from 50.1 in December, according to HSBC purchase manager’s index.

US markets ended lower on Friday after a disappointing report on December-quarter gross domestic product. Growth slowed to an annualised pace of 2.6% year on year from 5% in the September quarter, as a strong pick-up in consumer spending was offset by weak business investment, reports Financial Times. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 were down over 1% each.

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