Sensex heads for second consecutive weekly fall

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The BSE Sensex and Nifty fell on Friday, heading for a second consecutive weekly fall, as blue-chips such as ICICI Bank (ICBK.NS) declined on worries that stocks have gone ahead of underlying anaemic earnings growth.

October-December was the third straight quarter when earnings lagged expectations since Narendra Modi’s anointment as India’s prime minister in May last year, prompting investors to pare some positions.

Twelve-month forward earning estimates for India’s large- and mid-cap companies have fallen by 5.1 percent over the last three months, Thomson Reuters StarMine data showed.

Falls also tracked lower Asian stocks as Federal Reserve-inspired gains petered out, while the dollar steadied after rebounding from the shock of a surprisingly dovish U.S. central bank.

“Earnings are expected to remain weak for the fourth quarter as well,” said Deven Choksey, managing director, K R Choksey Securities.

U.S. dollar strength is also driving some funds to pare their positions, he added.

The Sensex was down 0.4 percent, while the Nifty lost 0.46 percent, heading for a third consecutive session of declines.

The 30-shares index is down 0.52 percent for the week while the NSE index has so far marked a weekly decline of 0.64 percent.

ICICI Bank lost 2 percent while ITC (ITC.NS) fell 1.3 percent.

Benchmark indexes were also under pressure after NTPC (NTPC.NS) shares fell 6 percent on going ex-debenture.

(Reporting by Abhishek Vishnoi; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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