Sensex little changed; Tata Motors, Infosys gain

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 24, 2012 14:10 hrs

By Manoj Dharra

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The BSE Sensex edged slightly higher on Monday as Tata Motors extended its recent rally on hopes of improved sales at its key unit Jaguar Land Rover, while short-covering helped technology shares such as Infosys advance.

Volumes were thin, with global shares steady, as the holiday mood set in across markets despite tensions over the U.S. budget dispute.

The thin volumes could exacerbate the volatiliy expected later this week ahead of the monthly derivatives expiry on Thursday.

"Indian shares are adopting a wait-and-watch policy to await the outcome of the U.S. fiscal cliff and not moving in a tangible manner," said Kaushik Dani, fund manager at Peerless Mutual Fund.

On the domestic front, third-quarter earnings will also start and developments on earnings will determine the direction of the market, Dani added.

The benchmark BSE Sensex rose 0.07 percent, or 13.09 points, to end at 19,255.09.

The broader Nifty rose 0.14 percent, or 8.05 points, to end at 5,855.75.

The stock market is closed on Tuesday for Christmas.

Tata Motors Ltd ended 2.52 percent higher, extending a rally on hopes of improved sales at its key unit Jaguar Land Rover and as the company planned investment into passenger vehicles.

The auto-maker's shares have gained 9.5 percent so far this month, as of Friday's close.

Technology shares gained on short-covering as the recent underperformance was seen as overdone. Infosys Ltd rose 1.1 percent after falling 5.75 percent this month, as of Friday's close.

Tata Consultancy Services Ltd was up 0.6 percent.

Analysts expect the technology sector to see some pick-up in outsourcing activity as the sector has been beaten down in 2012 due to the eurozone crisis and unfavorable election rhetoric in the U.S.

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals gained 4.23 percent after a unit entered into a development pact with Forest Laboratories, which will make an upfront payment of $6 million to the Indian drugmaker.

Loss-making Kingfisher Airline rose 5 percent, its maximum daily limit, after TV news channels reported it had submitted a revival plan to the civil aviation authorities, without citing sources.

Kingfisher officials were not immediately available for comment.

Oil & Natural Gas Corp shares fell 1.9 percent after the stock went ex-dividend on Monday. The explorer had offered a dividend of 5 rupees for 2012/13.

Shares in Tata Steel fell 0.5 percent after the company reported a clash between contract workers and security guards at its main Jamshedpur plant in eastern India on Monday.

Maruti Suzuki Ltd shares ended 1.73 percent lower on concerns about its domestic passenger car sales outlook.

Angel Broking says Maruti Suzuki expects "muted" volume growth of around 6 percent in fiscal 2013 and 6-7 percent in fiscal 2014, according to a note on Monday, citing the automaker's management.

(Editing by Sunil Nair)

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