The Sensex fell on Friday to close at its lowest in 1-1/2 weeks, as lenders such as Punjab National Bank fell after reporting a rise in bad assets in the July-September quarter, while Hindustan Unilever fell on disappointment over its volumes growth.
Falls also tracked lower European share markets as lacklustre corporate earnings reports undermined investor confidence ahead of US growth data due later on Friday. Investors are also waiting for a potential cabinet reshuffle that local media reports say could come on Sunday, although the top ministries are seen unlikely to be affected.
The BSE Sensex fell 0.71 per cent, or 133.29 points, to 18,625.34 points, marking its lowest close since October 17. The index fell 0.3 per cent for the week. The 50-share Nifty fell 0.72 per cent, or 41 points, to 5,664.30 points. The index fell 0.35 per cent for the week. Punjab National Bank's shares dropped 6.8 per cent and Indian Overseas Bank also fell 6.8 per cent after both reported a net gain in non-performing assets in the July-September quarter.
The results in the two state-run banks hit SBI, with shares ending down 1.2 per cent, on concerns the country's biggest lender would also post an increase in bad loans when it reports earnings.
The country's biggest private sector lender ICICI Bank fell 0.8 per cent, despite posting a record net profit in the July-September period and beating estimates, as investors booked profits as part of the broader downturn in the banking sector.
Hindustan Unilever Ltd, the Indian unit of Anglo-Dutch Unilever Plc, dropped 2.08 per cent, as disappointment over its sales volumes offset the better-than-expected 17 per cent rise in net profit.
Personal care and food products maker Dabur India Ltd fell 2.2 per cent given concerns about its margins in the previous quarter.
Shares in CESC Ltd dropped 15 per cent on Friday, as investors questioned why the Indian power utility has agreed to buy a stake in business process outsourcing company Firstsource Solutions Ltd.
However, among gainers, shares in Mahindra & Mahindra rose 2.7 per cent, extending yesterday's 3.5 per cent gain after its quarterly earnings this week beat analyst estimates.
UBS also upgraded Mahindra & Mahindra to 'buy' from 'neutral' citing a 'strong' outlook for profit margins.
Kingfisher Airlines Ltd rose 4.6 per cent on hopes the carrier would regain its flying license after regulators took it away earlier this month.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation said on Friday Kingfisher will use its own money as it tries to resume flying, a day after the grounded carrier persuaded striking staff to return to work.
Hindustan Construction Company Ltd shares rose 2.3 per cent after the builder's July-September loss narrowed to Rs 18.77 crore compared to Rs 40.54 crore a year ago.