BSE Sensex falls on profit-taking, earnings

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The BSE Sensex and Nifty fell on Thursday to snap their six-day gaining streak as investors chose to book profits in blue-chip stocks such as ICICI Bank while lower-than-expected earnings for December-quarter also weighed.

Results of the India’s largest companies fell more than expected in the latest quarter, adding to scepticism over a stock market rally that started in early 2014 and official figures showing India’s economic growth outpaced China’s.

India is suffering the worst cuts in one-year forward earnings in Asia’s emerging markets following the third straight quarter of disappointing results since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, perceived as pro-business, scored a landslide election win.

Thursday’s falls also tracked MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan which was down 0.12 percent with much of the region off for the Lunar New Year holiday.

“Broader trend remains firm but earnings still need to catch up with falling inflation and improving macros,” said G. Chokkalingam, founder of Equinomics, a Mumbai-based research and fund advisory firm.

The broader Nifty fell 0.34 percent, while the benchmark BSE Sensex lost 0.21 percent, after hitting their highest in nearly 2-1/2 weeks during the day.

Investors remain hopeful of faster reforms in the government’s 2015/16 fiscal budget, due to be presented on Feb. 28, after Modi’s party was routed in the Delhi state elections.

Blue-chip stocks led the fall. ICICI Bank lost 2.1 percent, ITC fell 1.7 percent and Reliance Industries was 1.2 percent lower.

(Reporting by Abhishek Vishnoi; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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