BSE Sensex edges higher; Bharti Airtel leads

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 23, 2013 12:27 hrs

The BSE Sensex rose on Wednesday, led by gains in Bharti Airtel after the mobile carrier raised its call charges, but sentiments remain constrained ahead of key company results and a critical RBI decision on interest rates next week.

The government is taking a series of steps to maintain confidence in the economy, assuring investors it is committed to fiscal prudence in the coming budget and brushing aside threats of a downgrade, as it eyes growth of 5.7 percent in the current fiscal year.

Larsen & Toubro earnings will be on investors' radar on Thursday. The earnings are expected to remain subdued but management commentary on order guidance will be important. Maruti Suzuki earnings on Friday and RBI's rate meeting next week are the next big events being watched.

"Earnings so far have been better than expectations, so there is a positive bias which would continue to drive markets," said Phani Sekhar, Fund Manager-PMS, Angel Broking.

0.23 percent, or 45.04 points, to end at 20,026.

The broader Nifty rose 0.1 percent, or 5.8 points, to end at 6,054.30.

Shares in Bharti Airtel gained 4.46 percent after the company raised its voice call charges to account for rising costs, a move that is likely to boost its fourth-quarter earnings.

ZEE Entertainment shares gained 5.51 percent after the company reported higher-than-expected margins and net profit, which stood at 1.93 billion rupees in the December quarter, led by higher subscription revenues.

Blue chip companies that have reported better earnings so far also gained. ITC shares rose 1.25 percent while Reliance Industries Ltd gained 0.33 percent.

Sun TV shares rose 3.56 percent after the company reported a higher-than-estimated December-quarter net profit at 1.9 billion rupees.

Shares of FMCG major Hindustan Unilever (HUL) tumbled 4.34 percent, extending Tuesday's 2.8 percent loss, after the company said it decided to increase the rate of royalty payment to parent Unilever Plc. A number of brokerages downgraded the stock after the company's statement .

Tata Motors shares fell 1.73 percent, with traders citing concerns over December-quarter earnings.

However, shares in India's Housing Development & Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL) fell 14.4 percent after its Vice Chairman and Managing Director Sarang Wadhawan sold a partial stake in the company.

HDIL said on Tuesday Wadhawan sold 5 million shares worth 570 million rupees in secondary markets, reducing his stake to 0.99 percent from 2.19 percent.

Syndicate Bank shares fell 5.36 percent after its adjusted profits missed estimates.

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