The BSE Sensex edged higher on Tuesday led by gains in defensive and low-beta stocks such as ITC on value buying after recent declines on churning in favour of cyclicals and high-beta stocks on bets of additional government reforms.
A slew of reforms announced this month generated significant interest in India stocks with the Sensex gaining 7.25 per cent and foreign investors pumping in close to Rs 132.2 billion in September so far.
Although analysts expect some consolidation after the trend changing gains this month and as markets head closer to expiry of September derivatives contracts on Thursday, it is seen more as an opportunity to increase exposure in Indian stocks.
The benchmark BSE index rose 0.11 per cent, consolidating for the second day after a fast run-up in September on a heavy dose of reform announcements.
The 50-share Nifty rose 0.08 per cent, although finding resistance at the 5,700 level for a third consecutive session.
Among defensive stocks, cigarette maker ITC rose 1.9 percent, while Hindustan Unilever rose two per cent.
Axis Bank shares fall
Shares in Axis Bank fell on concerns over credit provided to Indonesia's PT Bumi Resources, whose parent company, Bumi Plc, launched an investigation into alleged financial irregularities at its Indonesian operations.
"On August 4, 2011, Bumi entered into a credit agreement with Axis Bank to provide the company a credit facility of $200 million for capital expenditure and to repay an older more expensive facility," P T Bumi Resources TBK had said in its 2011 annual report.
Axis Bank shares closed down 2.66 per cent at Rs 1,102.65 on Tuesday on the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Bumi Plc, the coal mining group controlled by Indonesian investors including the influential Bakrie family, said on Monday it had commissioned an independent investigation into allegations concerning its Indonesian subsidiaries, including 29-per cent owned PT Bumi Resources, Asia's biggest exporter of thermal coal.
Senior executives at Axis Bank were not immediately available to comment.
Shares in UB group rallied after Diageo Plc said it is in talks to buy a stake in billionaire Vijay Mallya's United Spirits Ltd (UNSP.NS: Quote, Profile, Research), reviving an on-again, off-again courtship that would ramp up its presence in the world's largest whisky market.
United Breweries Ltd (UBBW.NS: Quote, Profile, Research) gained 5.9 percent, United Spirits gained 8.9 percent, Kingfisher Airlines Ltd (KING.NS: Quote, Profile, Research) rose 7.9 percent, while United Breweries Holdings rallied 17.6 percent.
Barclays in a note said restructuring measures for state electricity boards "fall short of expectations", and will serve as a bailout arrangement, rather than representing tangible reform measures.
BHEL shares ended 2.4 percent higher, while BGR Energy and Thermax shares fell 0.5 and 0.43 percent respectively.
Among other decliners, shares exposed to India's state-owned electricity distributors fell as traders chose to "sell on news" of government bailout plan for the cash-strapped utilities saddled with more than $35 billion in debt.
Power sector lender Power Finance Corp (PWFC.NS: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 1.1 percent, while Rural Electrification Corp fell 2.8 percent.
Shares in Cairn India fell 3.4 percent after Cairn Energy (CNE.L: Quote, Profile, Research) was set to sell an 8 percent stake in its former unit for up to $940 million, in the second such deal in three months.
Shares in Axis Bank fell 2.71 percent on concerns over credit provided to Indonesia's PT Bumi Resources, whose parent company Bumi Plc launched an investigation into alleged financial irregularities at its Indonesian operations.