Mumbai: After hitting record highs initially during the week, equity benchmarks saw profit-taking on Friday weighed down by oil & gas, private banks and FMCG stocks. The 30-share BSE Sensex declined 188.47 points to close at 22688.07 and the 50-share NSE Nifty fell below the 6800-mark, down 58.05 points to 6782.75.
The bull-run is not over yet, though it was a weak start for May series due to profit booking that may continue for some more time, say experts. They remain bullish on the market at least till the outcome of Lok Sabha elections on May 16.
SP Tulsian of sptulsian.com feels this is a technical correction. "I won't be holding that view that the May series is seen weak at least till elections outcome," he adds.
Top private sector lender ICICI Bank fell more than 2 percent after lower than expected numbers in Q4. Net profit rose 15 percent year-on-year to Rs 2652 crore on higher non-interest income, retail advances and operating profit but impacted by higher provisions. HDFC Bank lost over a percent as sources told CNBC-TV18 that the Reserve Bank of India is not in support of allowing the bank to raise further foreign capital.
However, its rival Axis Bank gained over a percent as its March quarter numbers, which was announced after market hours, came in higher than street expectations with the net profit rising 19 percent to Rs 1,842 crore. Top lender State Bank of India gained 0.9 percent. India's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki reported net profit at Rs 800 crore in the quarter ended March 2014 (lower than forecast), up 17.5 percent compared to previous quarter.
"Lower volumes, higher sales promotion expenses and a stock compensation to dealers owing to reduction in excise duty (exceptional expense) impacted the bottomline during the quarter," the company reasons.
Oil & gas producer Cairn India tanked 5 percent as brokerages downgraded the stock after lower-than-expected FY15 oil production guidance. HSBC downgraded the stock to neutral from overweight with a revised target price of Rs 378 from Rs 409 per share, due to lack of strong triggers. Cement stocks like Ambuja Cements, UltraTech Cement and ACC fell 3-5 percent after January-March quarter earnings. Index heavyweights ITC and Reliance Industries were down 2.76 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
FMCG major Hindustan Unilever lost over 2.5 percent ahead of announcing March quarter numbers on April 28 (Monday). Shares of Larsen & Toubro, ONGC, NTPC, Hero Motocorp, Cipla and GAIL were down 1-3 percent. However, housing finance company HDFC was up 1.6 percent while utility vehicle maker M&M and drug maker Dr Reddy's Labs gained 2-3 percent. In the broader space, Strides Arcolab rallied 13 percent after its manufacturing facility (KRS Garden) in Bangalore has been approved by US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).
Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) surged 12 percent after Japan's NTT Docomo has decided to sell 26.5 percent stake in Tata Teleservices via equity method. Mangalore Chemicals spiked 5 percent after the largest non-promoter shareholder SCM Soilfert, the subsidiary of Deepak Fertilisers, raised stake in the company to 25.31 percent. Shares of agrochemical company UPL jumped over 7 percent as its Q4FY14 consolidated net profit rose to Rs 360.3 crore from Rs 278.4 crore year-on-year whereas battery manufacturer Exide Industries plunged 3 percent after Q4 net profit declined to Rs 132 crore from Rs 146.5 crore Y-o-Y. Declining shares outnumbered advancing ones by a ratio of 1506 to 1215 on the BSE.