Sensex falls 145 points; earnings, rupee key

The BSE Sensex fell nearly 1 per cent on Wednesday with the NSE stock index closing below its 200 day moving average as IndusInd Bank declined after its quarterly earnings disappointed investors, sparking caution about the upcoming reporting season.

A range-bound rupee despite several measures from regulators to support the currency, including mandating that state-run oil companies to purchase dollars from a single bank, also hurt sentiment.

Besides the currency and upcoming earnings, investors are expected to focus on industrial output and consumer inflation data due on Friday, with wholesale inflation report due on Monday.

"The rupee may sustain at 58 to 60 levels while any positive surprises in the earnings would be good for the market," said G. Chokkalingam, executive director and chief investment officer at Centrum Wealth Management.

The benchmark BSE index fell 0.75 per cent, or 145.36 points, to end at 19,294.12, giving up its gains for 2013.

The broader NSE index fell 0.72 per cent, or 42.30 points, to end at 5,816.70.

Shares have been volatile as the rupee has tumbled, hitting its latest record low of 61.21 on Monday.

Given weak sentiment investors are keenly anticipating April-June earnings reports as an indicator of corporate profits for the rest of the fiscal year.

IndusInd Bank shares fell 1.5 per cent after the private sector lender reported results that were largely in line with expectations, disappointing investors who had hoped for better-than-expected earnings.

Reliance Industries fell 2.2 per cent after a news channel, citing unnamed sources, reported the finance ministry was seeking to put a ceiling on a recently announced hikes in gas prices, while looking to have Reliance deliver gas under existing rates.

A Reliance spokesman declined to comment on the report.

Indian Oil Corp fell 0.2 per cent after sources with direct knowledge of the matter said Malaysia's Petronas was in talks to sell 10 per cent of its Canadian shale gas assets to the company.

The falls reflected concerns about how much IOC would pay for the stake, dealers said.

ITC fell on profit-taking after rising about 7 per cent in five consecutive session, while United Spirits also declined 0.4 per cent after making its all-time high of Rs 2,662 earlier in the day.

However, among stocks that gained, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries rose 0.2 per cent to skirt near a record high, after a competitor raised revenue guidance citing strong sale of a generic antibiotic also sold by Sun Pharma.

SpiceJet gained 3.9 per cent after earlier rising as much as 8.5 per cent on continued hopes the carrier could attract foreign investments.

Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013