Sensex edges up; consumer and healthcare stocks rise

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The BSE Sensex and Nifty edged up on Thursday in a volatile session as consumer and healthcare stocks such as Sun Pharmaceutical Industries rose with investors favouring defensive bets, though losses in telecoms and banks capped gains.

Shares fell short of record highs hit on Wednesday. The Nifty gained 1.05 percent this week, marked by the disclosure of a historic agreement introducing inflation targeting to India and an unexpected interest rate cut by the central bank.

Sentiment was hit as regional markets slipped after Wall Street continued to pull back from record highs ahead of Friday’s closely-watched U.S. jobs data and prior to the European Central Bank’s policy meeting later on Thursday.

Indian markets will be closed on Friday for a public holiday.

“Markets are consolidating at this level,” said Deven Choksey, managing director, KR Choksey Securities, adding the Nifty was likely to trade in a 500 point range between 8,700 and 9,200 in the medium term.

The Sensex gained 0.23 percent to 29,448.95, while the broader Nifty rose 0.17 percent to 8,937.75. The BSE Sensex gained 0.78 percent this week.

Healthcare and consumer stocks rose as investors preferred to add defensive stocks to their portfolios. Sun Pharma gained 3.2 percent and Hindustan Unilever added 2.6 percent.

However, telecom stocks fell with Bharti Airtel lower 0.95 percent and Idea Cellular down 4.1 percent after the government said it received bids worth $ 9.9 billion in the latest auction of radio wave frequencies for telecoms network.

Cairn India fell to a one-month low after the company cut its FY16 capex to $ 500 million from $ 1.2 billion.

(Reporting by Indulal PM; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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