* BSE index ends 0.82 pct lower; NSE down 0.85 pct
* ICICI Bank, Maruti down on weak earnings
* Markets likely to consolidate at current levels-analyst
By Indulal PM
MUMBAI, April 25 Indian shares fell on Friday,
retreating from fourth consecutive record highs hit earlier in
the session on the back of disappointment over earnings from
market heavyweights including ICICI Bank Ltd.
The results sparked doubts about the premise of a rally that
has sent the broader NSE index up 7.6 percent so far
this year, already more than its 6.8 percent rise in the whole
of last year.
The gains this year have been premised not only on the
prospect of the Bharatiya Janata Party winning the elections
that would conclude by mid-May, but also on the prospect of a
recovery in the domestic economy.
Inflation fears could also revive after the Indian
Meteorological Department on Thursday forecast the country would
see below-average monsoon rainfall in 2014, raising the
possibility of drought.
Yet, heavy buying by foreign investors since the start of
February has supported shares so far. Overseas funds were buyers
for a fourth consecutive session on Wednesday, bringing their
total this year to 298 billion rupees ($4.88 billion).
"We expect markets to be volatile and consolidate around the
current levels till the time of election results," said Dipen
Shah, head of a private client group at Kotak Securities.
"There would be stock-specific movements based on quarterly
earnings. Overall if you are looking at a longer term on a 9
month to a year basis, we advise to have a portfolio of cyclical
and domestic investment oriented stocks."
The benchmark BSE index closed 0.82 percent lower
at 22,688.07. The index had earlier risen to an all-time high of
22,939.31, having hit a record in each of the four trading
sessions this week, though it ended with a mild 0.26 percent
gain for the week.
The broader NSE index closed 0.85 percent down at
6,782.75. The index gained 0.1 percent in the week, after
earlier hitting a record at 6,869.85.
ICICI Bank fell 2.24 percent despite posting a
better-than-expected 15 percent rise in January-March net
profit. Dealers say the bank's results were helped by a one-time
foreign exchange gain estimated at 2.22 billion rupees ($36.36
Shares in Maruti Suzuki India Ltd fell 1.3 percent
after posting a worse-than-expected 35 percent drop in
January-March net profit.
Cairn India plunged 4.94 percent after its net profit lagged
some analysts' estimates, especially after adjusting for other
Meanwhile, ACC Ltd fell 2.73 percent and Ambuja
Cements India Ltd closed 4.43 percent lower even as
their earnings beat forecasts. Dealers said other income and tax
credit contributed significantly to their net profits.
Among the gainers, Alstom SA's Indian units surged
after Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that General Electric Co
was in talks to buy the struggling French turbine and
train maker parent for about $13 billion.
Alstom India Ltd gained 4.13 percent, while Alstom
T&D India Ltd jumped 5.87 percent.
For additional stocks on the move double click
FACTORS TO WATCH
* Dollar steady near one-week low vs yen, Ukraine caps upside
* Oil slips, still near 7-week high on Ukraine crisis
* Shares, dollar struggle on Ukraine anxiety
* 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 = 61.0550 Indian Rupees)
(Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)