India’s Sensex Heads for Monthly Gain; Hindustan Unilever Soars

Indian (SENSEX) equities advanced for the sixth time in seven days, with the benchmark index poised for the biggest month gain since November. Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUVR) surged after its parent planned to raise stake in the company.

The S&P BSE Sensex increased 0.8 percent to 19,533.76 at 10:01 a.m. in Mumbai. Hindustan Unilever jumped as much as 20 percent after the world’s second-largest consumer goods company said it will spend up to 292.2 billion rupees ($5.4 billion) to boost its stake in its Indian unit to 75 percent. Copper maker Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd. (STLT) added 2.5 percent after reporting profit that exceeded estimates.

The Sensex has risen 3.8 percent this month, heading for its first monthly gain since January. The gauge has rebounded 7.3 percent from a seven-month low on April 9 as data showing wholesale-price inflation slowed and a decline in gold and oil prices stoked speculation the central bank will cut borrowing costs this week.

Profit at just one of the 11 Sensex companies that have reported March-quarter results has trailed analyst estimates. Net income at about 43 percent of the 30 index firms trailed forecasts in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with 40 percent in the previous two quarters.

The RBI may lower its key rate by 25 basis points at its May 3 review, according to the median of a Bloomberg economist survey. The slump in gold and oil prices eased concerns about the prices of two commodities that fueled India’s record $32.6 billion current-account deficit in the last quarter of 2012, government data show.

Foreign funds bought a net $56 million of local shares on April 26, taking their net investment in stocks this year to $11 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Inflows last year were $24.5 billion, the most among 10 Asian markets tracked by Bloomberg, the data show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rajhkumar K Shaaw in Mumbai at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Darren Boey at

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