The Sensex fell on Thursday, snapping a two-day recovery, as State Bank of India fell after bad loans weighed on its third-quarter earnings, while Maruti Suzuki ended lower after exclusion from MSCI index.
Shares briefly turned positive after the wholesale price index (WPI) data, but traders said the Reserve Bank of India would also factor in the persistent current account deficit into its monetary policy decisions, making the outlook for rate cuts over the rest of the year uncertain.
The Sensex fell 0.57 per cent, or 110.90 points, to end at 19,497.18. The broader Nifty fell 0.61 per cent, or 36 points, to end at 5,896.95, closing below the psychologically important 5,900 level.
State Bank of India, the country's biggest lender, fell 1.7 per cent, after it posted a 4 per cent rise in quarterly net profit, its smallest increase in six quarters, as higher provisions for bad loans and slower loan demand in a sluggish economy hurt growth. Shares in Maruti Suzuki India Ltd fell 3.1 per cent after MSCI said it would remove the automaker from its MSCI India index after the close of trade on February 28.
Shares in Indian mobile operators including Bharti Airtel Ltd and Reliance Communications Ltd slumped after newspaper reports said the government was demanding additional money for their permits and airwaves. Bharti Airtel fell 4.4 per cent, Idea Cellular slipped 1.2 per cent, while Reliance Communications ended 4.3 per cent lower.
Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, India's No.2 drugmaker by sales, fell 1.6 per cent after reporting a larger-than-expected 29.2 per cent drop in quarterly net profit as sales in its key North America market remained muted.