Sensex little changed; Hindalco falls 5 percent

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The BSE Sensex and Nifty were little changed on Wednesday as gains in telecommunications stocks over spectrum auctions were offset by a sharp fall in Hindalco Industries Ltd(HALC.NS) over an investigation into the allocation of coal blocks.

Broader sentiment remained weak, as Asian stocks skidded to a two-month low on continued worries about an earlier U.S. interest rate hike, a prospect that sent the dollar to a 12-year high against the euro.

“Markets are in a mood to consolidate. Nifty is near the 8,700 support level. There are global concerns and any fall of 150 points in Nifty from the current level, will create fresh buying opportunity,” said Deven Choksey, managing director, KR Choksey securities.

The benchmark BSE Sensex is up 0.01 percent at 28,713.13, while the broader Nifty is down 0.16 percent at 8,698.05.

Telecommunications stocks such as Bharti Airtel (BRTI.NS) gained after operators were seen as having successfully secured most of their spectrum needs at the ongoing auction of mobile airwaves.

However, Hindalco Industries fell as much as 5.3 percent to its lowest since May 5, 2014 after a court summoned billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of Aditya Birla Group to which Hindalco belongs and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The summons were related to the allocation of coal blocks to Hindalco during the previous Congress government, which were later overturned by the supreme court. Hindalco declined to comment.

Metal stocks also fell on concerns over the impact of the investigations by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Tata Steel (TISC.NS) fell 1.1 percent, while Sesa Sterlite (SESA.NS) was down 1.7 percent.

Other laggards also include healthcare stocks as investors booked profits in recent outperformers such as Cipla Ltd (CIPL.NS), which fell 2.1 percent. As of Tuesday, the stock had gained 16.5 percent this year.

(Reporting by Indulal PM; Editing by Anand Basu)

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