Sensex falls 1 pct ahead of expiry; software stocks slide

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The BSE Sensex and Nifty fell 1 percent on Thursday, led by profit-taking in software stocks such as Infosys Ltd, while caution also prevailed ahead of the expiry of derivative contracts due later in the day and federal budget on Saturday.

BSE IT index fell 1.3 percent, after gaining 11.6 percent year-to-date compared with a 4.7 percent rise in the benchmark Sensex.

Several traders cite worries that the railway budget on Thursday leans towards populist measures such as not increasing heavily subsidised passenger fares, raising concerns about government’s fiscal deficit.

Falls also tracked lower Asian shares, which edged away from five-month highs on Thursday, while the dollar steadied after slipping on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s indication that the U.S. central bank is in no hurry to hike interest rates.

“Railway budget led disappointment would not live for long as Modi’s federal budget would be a big positive,” said G. Chokkalingam, founder of Equinomics, a Mumbai-based research and fund advisory firm.

Investors are expecting the government to unveil innovative ways to propel investments in the country, he added.

The BSE Sensex fell 1.03 percent, while the broader Nifty lost 1 percent.

Infosys fell 1.9 percent while Tata Consultancy Services lost 1.6 percent.

Among other blue-chips, HDFC Bank fell 1.2 percent while ITC was down 1.3 percent.

Railway-related stocks also fell due to lack of details on big investment plans in the railway budget, traders said.

Wagon makers slumped. Titagarh Wagons fell 7.1 percent, while Texmaco Rail & Engineering lost 7.5 percent.

($ 1 = 62.0500 rupees)

(Reporting by Abhishek Vishnoi; Editing by Anand Basu)

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