Indian shares eked out gains ahead of holidays as crude oil resumed its decline, reducing the cost of the nation’s biggest import, and as profits at top 50 companies mostly matched or exceeded analyst estimates.
The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.1 per cent to 34,991.91 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Mumbai after fluctuating at least 10 times between loss and gain in the last 90 minutes. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. -- Asia’s biggest software exporter -- paced the rally among Sensex members, while Vedanta Ltd. dropped the most. Investors will make ceremonial purchases in a one-hour trading session on Wednesday to mark Diwali, the festival of lights. Markets will be fully closed on Thursday.
The Sensex has held its gain in November after dropping nearly 11 per cent in the past two months, the worst such back-to-back decline since February 2016, as Brent crude rose to its highest level in four years, clouding outlooks on economic growth and corporate profits. Also, a series of repayment defaults by Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd. sparked concerns of a debt crisis, triggering a cash crunch.
“Oil isn’t rising as much as it was envisaged -- in fact dropping below $75 now -- is a big positive for global markets and particularly India,” said Sudip Bandyopadhyay, group chairman of Inditrade Capital Ltd. in Mumbai. “Even as liquidity issues still persist, there are many interesting opportunities after the recent drop in stock prices.”
Brent futures traded 0.3 per cent lower, set for a sixth day of declines in seven, and down more than 15 per cent from their 2018 high on October 3. Of the 43 Nifty 50 Index companies that have reported earnings so far, 25 have either matched or beaten analyst estimates.
The NSE Nifty 50 added 0.1 per cent. Eight of the 19 sector indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. climbed, paced by a gauge of technology stocks, while a measure of consumer-durable shares led declines.