Sensex rises; energy firms rally on fuel hike reports

Last Updated: Fri, Dec 28, 2012 13:30 hrs

Mumbai: The BSE Sensex ended higher on Friday led by gains in oil firms including ONGC following media reports the petroleum ministry has proposed gradually raising diesel prices.

Domestic gains were in line with Asian shares that gained on Friday as investors continued to eye the U.S. "fiscal cliff" negotiations amid news lawmakers will meet on Sunday in a final attempt to hammer out a deal.

However, Bharti Infratel slumped in its debut after raising about $760 million in India's biggest IPO in two years, weighed down by a cautious outlook for mobile tower operators.

Investors are looking forward to India's current account data for July-September due on Monday amid expectations it will show a record high deficit, sending the balance of payments into negative territory.

"Trend of the market will be based on events that are unfolding in next 15 days such as fiscal ciff resolution from U.S., RBI policy action and earnings season that starts from mid-Jan," said Deven Choksey, CEO and MD at K R Choksey.

The benchmark BSE Sensex rose 0.63 percent, or 121.04 points, to end at 19,444.84 points, gaining 1.05 percent for the week, its first gain in three weeks.

The broader Nifty also added 0.65 percent, or 38.25 points, to end at 5,908.35.

Despite an uneven share price performance in December, foreign institutional investors have been strong buyers this month, with inflows of over $4 billion bringing the total for the year to around $24 billion.

Energy conglomerate Reliance Industries rose 2.76 percent, posting its best single-day gain since September 17, as the stock was seen to have under-performed this year.

Reliance shares have gained 18 percent so far this year, underperforming the 25.03 percent rise in the Sensex.

Meanwhile, oil producers gained as well on media reports the petroleum ministry has proposed a gradual rise in diesel prices, by 1 rupee a litre every month over a 10-month period.

ONGC shares rose 2.6 percent. Oil marketing companies also advanced, with Hindustan Petroleum Corp ending up 4.23 percent, IOC gaining 3 percent, and BPCL rising 2.4 percent.

Fuel subsidies in India are borne by the government, marketing and refining companies, as well as explorers.

Wind turbine supplier Suzlon Energy gained 7.8 percent on media reports that lenders will meet on Friday to discuss a loan restructuring package, dealers said.

However, Bharti Infratel slumped 12.9 percent, although the poor trading debut of the mobile tower operator is unlikely to deter future offerings in India, bankers said, with strong foreign fund bids expected to underpin the share market.

Some blue-chip banking shares ended lower on profit-taking, tied to the squaring of books at the end of the year. The BSE banking index has gained nearly 57 percent this year, as of Thursday's close.

HDFC Bank fell 0.4 percent, while State Bank of India lost 0.4 percent.

(Editing by Sunil Nair)

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