Sensex up 17 pts in cautious trade ahead of GDP, RBI policy

Mumbai: The benchmark BSE Sensex remained range-bound in a choppy trade today, but rose for the third session by edging up nearly 17 points as investors built bets ahead of release of September quarter GDP data later in the day and RBI’s fifth bi-monthly policy review tomorrow. However, cautioned prevailed on sustained outflows by foreign funds and a weak trend in global markets as investors are waiting for key US jobs numbers and a European Central Bank meeting later this week.

The 30-share index, which had gained 352.46 points in the previous two sessions, rose 17.47 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 26,145.67.The broader NSE Nifty, however, succumbed to late-selling in blue-chips and ended in the red by falling 7.45 points, or 0.09 per cent, to close at 7,935.25.

On a monthly basis, while the Sensex dropped by 511.16 points, or 1.91 per cent, this month — the most since August — on sustained outflows by foreign funds, Nifty retreated 130.55 points, or 1.61 per cent. Trading sentiment was upbeat on hopes that India’s growth may pick up in the September quarter as GDP data are due to be out later in the day, brokers said.

Meanwhile, RBI is likely to keep interest rates unchanged in its fifth bi-monthly monetary policy review tomorrow, they said. Foreign portfolio investors sold shares worth Rs 519.25 crore on Friday, as per provisional data from stock exchanges.

Automobile companies M&M, Tata Motors and Bajaj Auto saw solid buying interest and gained up to 1.41 per cent on hopes of strong monthly sales figures for November to be released tomorrow.

Expectations that the government will push through its efforts for a compromise on the GST Bill in the ongoing winter session of Parliament also had a positive bearing on sentiment. However, profit booking in recent gainers towards the fag end of the session and a weak trend in Asia capped the gains.

Bucking the trend, Bharti Airtel, Vedanta Ltd, Coal India, Lupin, Sun Pharma, NTPC, Maruti Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp and RIL fell up to 2.09 per cent. A mixed closing at other Asian markets and lower opening in Europe played their role too.

Among BSE sectoral indices, IT gained the most by rising (1.07 per cent), followed by consumer durables, realty, technology, power and auto. Selling activity re-emerged in the broader markets, with the BSE small-cap index rising 0.79 per cent and the mid-cap dropping by 0.05 per cent.

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