It was a listless session for the Indian stock market on Friday with investors, digesting quarterly reports from IT majors Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services and data on consumer price and wholesale price inflation, appearing somewhat clueless about the direction despite positive global cues.
Nevertheless, the key indices Sensex and the Nifty50 managed to sign off on a positive note. It was not a smooth sail though with stocks encountering resistance at small rallies.
The BSE benchmark Sensex, which swung between 27,763.54 and 27,548.18, ended the day at 27,673.60, gaining 30.49 points or 0.11%. The Nifty50 of the National Stock Exchange ended up 10.05 points or 0.12% at 8583.40, after scaling a low of 8549.80 and a high of 8604.45 intraday.
In the forex market, the rupee strengthened to 66.73 against the U.S. dollar, up 0.21% from its previous close.
IT stocks, particularly Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys, were quite volatile today. Tata Consultancy Services, which rallied smartly after a weak start, tumbled soon thereafter, but bounced back strongly to end the day with a gain of 2%. TCS reported consolidated net profit of Rs 6603 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2016 as compared to Rs 6093 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2015. Total income increased from Rs 27,848 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2015 to Rs 30,341 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2016.
Infosys declined to a 52-week low after the company lowered its guidance for financial year 2017, despite reporting a 5% growth in second quarter net profit. The stock, which rose to rs 1080.70 early on in the session, ended the day with a loss of 2.4% at Rs 1026.50.
Infosys lowered its sales growth forecast for financial year 2016-17 to 7.5% - 8.5% in dollar terms. The IT major reported a net profit of Rs 3606 crore for the quarter ended September 2016, beating market expectations. That was up 4.95%, compared to the company's net profit of Rs 3436 crore in the quarter ended June 2016. On standalone basis, Infosys posted a net profit of Rs 3476 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2016 as compared to Rs 3248 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2015.
Among other stocks in the IT space, Aptech, HCL Infosys, NIIT Technologies, NIIT, MindTree, Ramco Systems and Datamatics closed with strong gains. Oracle Financial Services, Wipro, TecH Mahindra, Hexaware and Wipro ended weak.
Oil stocks had a good outing. Reliance Industries, ONGC, BPCL and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation gained 1.5% - 2%. Indian Oil Corporation moved up 2.8%, GAIL India gaind 3.75% and Petronet LNG jumped 5.4%, while Oil India, Castrol and Indraprastha Gas edged up marginally.
Capital goods sector heavyweight Larsen & Toubro gained 2.5% on announcement that its construction division bagged a huge order from the railways. Bharat Earth Movers, Bharat Electronics, FAG Bearings and Siemens also ended with impressive gains. BHEL notched up a gain of 0.7%.
Realty stocks Prestige, Indiabulls Real Estate and DLF gained 1.7% - 2.5%. HDIL and Godrej Properties also closed notably higher.
Among automobile stocks, Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland gained 2% and 1.7%, respectively. Bajaj Auto, Hero Motocorp, Mahindra & Mahindra and Maruti Suzuki shed 0.3% - 0.7%, while Eicher Motors ended lower by 1.6%.
From the Bankex, Kotak Bank moved up 1.4%. State Bank of India, Federal Bank, Punjab National Bank, Yes Bank, Axis Bank and ICICI Bank posted modest gains. HDFC Bank, IndusInd Bank and Bank of Baroda ended flat.
Reliance Communications moved up sharply after the company said that it signed a term sheet with Brookfield Infrastructure for sale of its telecom tower business.
Hindustan Unilever declined after parent Unilever reported weak quarterly results and warned about a drop in volume growth of the Indian company.
Vardhman Special Steels, Lux Industries, Shreyas Shipping, Karnataka Bank and Hindustan Construction saw some strong buying on stock specific news.
The market breadth was strong. Out of 2973 stocks traded on BSE, 1733 stocks moved up. 1063 stocks declined and 177 stocks ended flat.
On the economic front, data released by the government this afternoon shows India's annual rate of inflation based on wholesale prices to have eased on a month-on-month basis to 3.57% in September from 3.74% in August.
During the corresponding period last year, wholesale price inflation stood at -4.59%. After contracting for seventeen straight months, wholesale price inflation rose in April this year.
On Thursday, the government had released the data on retail price inflation. The data showed India's consumer price inflation to have slowed more than expected in September, advancing 4.31% (year-on-year), compared to 5.05% in August. In September 2015, inflation was 4.41%. While prices of food and beverages rose 4.12% annually and those of clothing and footware increased 5.19%, housing costs were up 5.18% and fuel prices increased 3.07%.