Sensex edges higher; more volatility seen in store

Last Updated: Fri, Jun 21, 2013 12:26 hrs

The BSE Sensex edged higher from two-month lows hit earlier on Friday as software exporters such as Infosys advanced on hopes a record low rupee would improve overseas earnings and helping indexes end a tough week on a brighter note.

The Sensex fell 2.1 percent for the week, posting a third weekly decline after emerging markets were hit hard by the U.S. Federal Reserve's signal of a rollback in its monetary stimulus and weak manufacturing data in China.

The news sent the rupee to a record low, sparking fears foreign investors would sell domestic assets to avoid seeing their returns eroded. Overseas funds have been sellers for eight consecutive sessions for a total of 59.5 billion rupees.

The shares are expected to remain volatile next week ahead of the expiry of June derivative contracts on Thursday, and investors will continue to monitor global markets.

"Foreign investors more specifically ETFs are panicking but government measures, pep talk may help shares in the near term," said Ashish Kukreja, managing director at wealth management firm Craft Financial Advisors Pvt. Ltd.

The Nifty should not go below 5,500 in current circumstances until and unless the government remains silent, added Kukreja.

The Sensex rose 0.29 percent, or 54.95 points, to end at 18,774.24, after falling to its lowest intraday level since April 16 earlier in the session.

The broader Nifty rose 0.21 percent, or 11.75 points, to end at 5,667.65, after hitting its lowest since April 16 earlier in the day. The index closed down 2.4 percent for the week.

Software exporters were among the leading gainers, with Infosys Ltd rising 2.1 percent and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd(TCS.NS) up 1.3 percent, on hopes a weaker rupee would improve returns from overseas earnings.

The rupee hit a record low of 59.9850 to the dollar on Thursday, on worries about India's current account deficit.

Among pharmaceutical exporters, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd rose 2.1 percent, while contract research and manufacturer Divis Laboratories Ltd(DIVI.NS) gained 1.3 percent.

However, lenders fell. The sector has been hit hard this week over fears that a record low rupee would prevent the Reserve Bank of India from cutting interest rates further after easing by 75 basis points already this year.

The NSE's benchmark for banking stocksNSEBANK fell 4.9 percent for the week, marking its fifth weekly decline.

Meanwhile, Housing Development Finance Corp Ltd fell 0.2 percent and ICICI Bank Ltd ost 0.1 percent as the stocks are among the top three shares in the BSE index with the highest foreign ownership, making them vulnerable to outflows.

Future Retail Ltd fell 32.9 percent as Friday marked the first day when the stock started trading after the retailer's fashion brands were spun off into a separate unit.

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