January 24, 2020 / 4:54 AM / a month ago

Indian shares inch higher as focus shifts to Federal budget

BENGALURU, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Indian shares edged higher in early trading on Friday, as investors assessed a clutch of corporate earnings reports and awaited the release of the Federal budget.

India’s NSE Nifty 50 index was up 0.2% at 12,203.10 by 0430 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex was 0.19% higher at 41,441.24.

Poorly received earnings from top Indian companies over the last two weeks have dented risk appetite, with investors now keeping a close watch on the Feb. 1 budget for clues on the government’s move to revive economic growth, which has slipped to a more than six-year low.

“There have been mixed cues in the last couple of days, China is a cause of concern and domestically earnings have not been very encouraging,” said Siddhartha Khemka, head of retail research at Motilal Oswal Securities in Mumbai.

“Now there is anticipation about the budget, lot of hope is being built around it and the outcome will give further direction to markets.”

Meanwhile, other Asian markets were subdued on fears that a new coronavirus in China could spread faster as millions of people would be travelling over the week-long holiday.

India’s Nifty banking index was higher by 0.4%, although it is on track for a 2% drop this week. The NSE Financials index rose 0.23%.

Shares of Bank of Baroda, the country’s second-largest public-sector bank, was up 0.79% ahead of its earnings announcement for the December quarter.

Meanwhile, the Nifty IT index fell as much as 0.71%, with eight of its 10 constituents trading in the negative territory.

Shares of Biopharmaceutical company Biocon Ltd slipped over 4% after it flagged a 6.5% drop in quarterly profit on Thursday.

Shares of lender PNB Housing Finance Ltd slid over 9% after it posted a weak set of quarterly numbers on Thursday.

$1 = 71.0700 Indian rupees Reporting by Chandini Monnappa; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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