* BSE index gains 0.16 pct, NSE index up 0.17 pct
* Analysts say cautious on outperformers
* FIIs buy about $2 bln in last 20 sessions
MUMBAI, March 14 Indian shares edged higher on
Friday as strong buying by foreign investors boosted blue-chips
such as Larsen & Toubro and kept both indexes not too far from
their record highs, although some caution was setting in about
the pace of recent gains.
Foreign investors have been driving the rally in Indian
shares, despite concerns in global markets over the outlook for
China's economy and continued military tensions in Ukraine.
Overseas funds were net buyers of $148.6 million worth of
shares in primary and secondary markets on Thursday, marking a
19th buying session in the previous 20 for a total of more than
Analysts attributed the strong foreign flows to hopes about
easing inflation and an improving domestic economy.
Data on Friday showed wholesale price inflation eased to a
nine-month low of 4.68 percent in February, while reports
earlier this week showed a sharp easing in consumer inflation
and a slight uptick in industrial output.
But investors are also booking profit in some of the recent
gainers, with the BSE index and the NSE index
ending the week with mild losses, thus snapping a three-week
"I expect markets to trade volatile in the near-term and
global factors will mainly affect markets. Since it (markets)
moved so sharply, I feel there is limited upside left at this
level. And we do have serious downside risks. We are
recommending our clients to book profits on those stocks which
have moved sharply," said Daljeet S Kohli, head of research at
brokerage, India Nivesh.
The benchmark BSE index rose 0.16 percent, or 35.19
points, to end at 21,809.80 points, not far from a record high
of 22,023.98 points hit on Monday. It fell 0.5 percent for the
The broader NSE index added 0.17 percent to 6,504.20
points, off an all-time high of 6,562.85 hit on Tuesday. The
index fell 0.34 percent for the week.
Domestic economy-driven blue-chips led the gainers, with
Larsen & Toubro Ltd up 2.4 percent, while Bharat Heavy
Electricals Ltd rose 2.7 percent.
Among other gainers, Infosys Ltd rose 1.1 percent
after investors gauged its 8.5 percent fall on Thursday as
overdone. Shares were hit in the previous session after chairman
Chairman Narayana Murthy said revenue for the fiscal year ending
March could grow at the lower end of the company's 11.5 to 12
Shares in Sun Pharmaceutical Industries gained 1.59
percent, recovering some of its 5.2 percent fall on Thursday
after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned imports
from one of the drug-maker's plant.
However, investors also booked profits in recent strong
gainers. IndusInd Bank fell 0.2 percent, but still
ended up 11.5 percent for the week. Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd
fell 1.1 percent but rose 6.2 percent for the week.
Axis Bank Ltd fell 1.9 percent after a government
official said India is aiming to raise 30-40 billion rupees
($490.68-$654.24 million) via the sale of a stake held by a
state-run trust fund in the bank.
Shares in L&T Finance Holdings closed 6.25 percent
lower after the non-banking financial company set a floor price
for its stake sale at 70 rupees per share, or an 11.5 percent
discount to Thursday's closing price..
For additional stocks on the move double click
FACTORS TO WATCH
* Yen in vogue on renewed anxiety over Ukraine, China
* Oil steady above $107 on Ukraine tension
* Ukraine anxiety triggers flight to safety, stocks
* Foreign institutional investor flows
* For closing rates of Indian ADRs
ASIA-PACIFIC STOCK MARKETS:
Pan-Asia........ Japan....... S.Korea...
S.E. Asia....... Hong Kong... Taiwan....
Australia/NZ.... India....... China.....
Wall Street .... Gold ....... Currency..
Eurostocks..... Oil ........ JP bonds...
ADR Report ..... LME metals. US bonds..
Stocks News US.. Stocks News Europe
DIARIES & DATA:
Indian Data Watch Asia earnings diary
U.S. earnings diary European diary
Indian diary Wall Street Week Ahead
Eurostocks Week Ahead
For top Asian company news, double click on:
U.S. company news European company news
Forex news Global Economy news
Technology news Telecoms news
Media news Banking news
Politics/General Asia Macro data
($1 = 61.1400 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Indulal PM; Editing by Sunil Nair)