* Benchmark BSE index slumps to 4-week closing low
* State-run refiners fall on petrol price cut
* Construction, engineering firms slide on growth fears
* Automakers rise on petrol price respite
By Henry Foy
MUMBAI, Nov 16 Indian shares fell for a
fifth straight session on Wednesday to their lowest close in
four weeks , as investors chipped away at gains
at the end of a weak earnings season that reflected slowing
domestic growth amid gloomy global economic backdrop.
The benchmark BSE index pared more than 1 percent earlier
slide, lead by large falls in state-run fuel retailers after a
populist move to cut petrol prices for the first time in three
years, and closed 0.63 percent lower.
State-run retailers, which typically alter their
fuel prices in tandem, cut petrol prices by about 3.2 percent on
Wednesday, in a move seen helping to curb close to double-digit
Construction, engineering and power stocks were battered
amid fears of a widespread demand slowdown as 13 interest rate
increases in the past 18 months failed to tame near double-digit
The main 30-share BSE index closed down 106.8
points at 16,775.87, its lowest close since Oct. 18, with 19 of
its components closing in the red.
The benchmark has been one of the world's worst performers
so far this year, falling 18.2 percent on slowing growth.
"The market is likely to be held in this range for a while,
as investors see less value at the top end, but are willing to
take a risk at the lower end," said Deven Choksey, chief
executive officer at K.R. Choksey Shares & Securities.
Shares in state-run Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL)
plunged as much as 9.2 percent to its lowest since May
2009, while larger rival Indian Oil Corp (IOC) slid to
a more than two-year low.
Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) also fell to its
lowest level in 18 months intra-day, before paring losses in
line with the market.
Shares in HPCL closed down 5.1 percent at 286.20
rupees($5.65). IOC shed 2.8 percent to end at 267.90 rupees,
while BPCL shares ended at 515.95, a fall of 4.2 percent on the
Larsen & Toubro, India's largest engineering
conglomerate, and state-run power gear maker Bharat Heavy
Electricals (BHEL) were two of the biggest fallers in
the benchmark index, ending at their lowest close this year.
Both firms cautioned on order book inflows for the current
fiscal year to March 2012 as part of their September-quarter
Shares in Larsen shed 4.0 percent to close at 1,236.50
rupees, after falling as much as 5.0 percent. BHEL ended at
298.20 rupees, down 3.6 percent, having fallen as much as 7.4
Automakers Mahindra & Mahindra, Bajaj Auto
and Tata Motors saw their shares rise,
riding on the petrol price cut.
Shares in Mahindra closed up 2.1 percent at 775.25 rupees,
while those of Bajaj ended at 1,725.70 rupees, a rise of 0.6
percent. Tata Motors shares also rose 0.6 percent to 182.30
Tech Mahindra, India's fifth-largest software
services firm, saw its shares regain some lost ground having
fallen as much as 3.2 percent in early trading. It closed 1.6
percent lower on the day.
The firm warned of a slowdown in spending in
Europe, the second-biggest market for India's $76 billion IT
industry, in its quarterly earnings presentation late
Shares in troubled airliner Kingfisher Airlines,
whose debt woes have underlined the margin pressures on many
Indian firms, closed up 14.2 percent at 24.90 rupees. The stock
is down around 70 percent from a year ago.
State Bank of India, the country's top lender,
which has large exposure to Kingfisher debt, bounced back from
the previous session's fall and ended up 2.1 percent at 1,765.95
The 50-share NSE index closed down 0.75 percent at
In the broader market, decliners outnumbered
gainers in the ratio of 2.4:1, with about 680 million shares
Asian markets fell on Wednesday, with European
shares following suit in early trading on intensifying concerns
that the region's sovereign debt crisis could spread to France
and Spain, with Italy being further sucked into the turmoil.
Among Asian markets, the MSCI's measure of markets other
than Japan closed 1.3 percent lower, while
Japan's Nikkei ended down 0.9 percent.
STOCKS THAT MOVED
* Steel Authority of India Ltd fell as
much as 6.1 percent after the state-run steelmaker was removed
from the MSCI India Index as the equity analysts performed their
semi-annual indices adjustments.
* Everonn Education fell as much as 19.9 percent
after traders told Reuters that Dubai-based Varkey Group's open
offer for the learning solutions provider, scheduled
to open on Nov. 16, would get delayed.
* Sintex Industries fell as much as 9.3 percent
after Goldman Sachs removed the plastic processing
firm from its conviction buy list on account of European
exposure and foreign currency convertible bonds concerns.
TOP THREE BY VOLUME
* Shree Renuka Sugars on 36.0 million shares
* Suzlon Energy on 23.4 million shares
* Kingfisher Airlines on 20.3 million shares
FACTORS TO WATCH
* Indian rupee report
* Indian bond report
* Euro bounces from 1-mth low as ECB weighs in
* Brent slips below $112 on euro zone woes
* European bond stress eases, ECB seen supporting
* Wall St rises on U.S. economy, progress in Italy
* For closing rates of Indian ADRs
(Editing by Malini Menon)
(email@example.com; ; +91-22-6636 9208; Reuters
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(Editing by Malini Menon)