Sensex logs first rise in five sessions on earnings lift

Market benchmark Sensex today reversed its four-day fall and ended higher by over 75 points, taking comfort from encouraging corporate earnings despite lingering worries about a likely rate hike by the US Fed as early as June. A higher opening in Europe and a mixed trend in Asia offered some respite.

Sentiment got a lift after Tata Power and National Fertilisers posted strong earnings for the March quarter, brokers said. But the possibility of the US Federal Reserve raising borrowing costs kept investors on a leash, which capped the gains. A higher rate would temper capital flows to emerging markets, including India.

The 30-share Sensex slipped in early trade on sustained foreign fund outflows and a weakening rupee against the dollar. However, some value-buying and higher opening in Europe took the barometer to 25,305.47 at the close, up 75.11 points, or 0.30 per cent. The gauge had fallen 549 points in the past four sessions on foreign fund outflows after regulator Sebi tightened guidelines to check any misuse of P-Notes.

Tata Power and National Fertilisers surged up to 3 per cent after their quarterly numbers for the March quarter gave investors much to cheer. However, Jubilant FoodWorks and Britannia Industries tumbled up to 4.45 per cent today amid concerns over bread samples of virtually all top brands in Delhi reportedly containing cancer-causing chemicals.

The NSE Nifty gained 17.80 points or 0.23 per cent to 7,748.85 after shuttling between 7,761.55 and 7,715.80. Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) sold shares worth a net Rs 65.60 crore yesterday, as per provisional data. Of the 30-share Sensex pack, 17 ended higher. NTPC stayed in the lead, up 2.03 per cent, followed by Tata Motors (1.70 per cent), ICICI Bank (1.56 per cent) and HDFC (1.33 per cent).

Among BSE sectoral and industry indices, auto rose by 0.32 per cent followed by banking 0.28 per cent and FMCG 0.18 per cent. Oil and gas fell 1.01 per cent and healthcare shed (0.88 per cent).

However, broader markets showed a downward trend as small-cap and mid-cap indices slumped by 0.65 per cent and 0.16 per cent, respectively.

Japan’s Nikkei ended 0.94 per cent higher while China’s Shanghai Composite closed 0.77 per cent up while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed 0.11 per cent higher. European shares climbed after a drop in the euro helped boost European stocks as investors weighed implications of a possible Federal Reserve interest rate increase. Key indices, like France and the UK rose by up to 1.35 per cent.