Most Indian Stocks Rise as Larsen, Asian Paints Gain on Earnings

Most Indian stocks rose, with the benchmark index holding at a three-year high, after companies posted better-than-expected earnings and global investors added to their holdings.

Engineering company Larsen & Toubro Ltd. rallied to a three-month high and Asian Paints Ltd. surged 6 percent after reporting profit that beat estimates. Hindalco Industries Ltd., India’s second-biggest aluminum producer, jumped to a two-week high. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. and HCL Technologies Ltd. dropped after climbing to records on Oct 15.

Two stocks rose for each that fell on the S&P BSE Sensex, which added 0.1 percent to 20,893.89. Foreign funds have bought a net $1.49 billion of shares this month, putting the measure within 0.5 percent of its record closing high of 21,004.96 on Nov. 5, 2010. Profits at all seven Sensex companies that have posted earnings this season have exceeded or matched estimates. About 47 percent of the 30 companies in the gauge lagged behind forecasts in the June quarter

“We have had no negative surprises on the earnings front so far and there’s a lot of money supply helping stocks hold on to higher levels,” Rikesh Parikh, vice president of equities at Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd., said by phone from Mumbai.

Overseas investors were net buyers of local stocks for a 11th day on Oct. 18, the longest series of purchases since May, data from the regulator show. That took this year’s inflow to $14.9 billion, the second-largest after Japan among 10 Asian markets tracked by Bloomberg. The Sensex rose 1.7 percent last week, its third week of gains, as investors bet the Federal Reserve will delay paring stimulus after the debt standoff shut the government this month.

Larsen, HDFC

Larsen surged to 925.55 rupees, the highest close since July 19 and the best performance on the Sensex. Net income slid 14 percent to 9.78 billion rupees ($160 million), topping the 8.94 billion rupees estimated by analysts, the company said after trading ended Oct. 18. The S&P BSE Capital Goods Index climbed to the highest level since July 23.

Asian Paints surged to 515.80 rupees, within 1 percent of its record close. The company posted net income of 3.27 billion rupees for the September quarter, beating the 2.6 billion-rupee estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

Housing Development Finance Corp., the nation’s largest mortgage lender, erased an intraday loss of 1.9 percent after saying profit climbed to 12.7 billion rupees in the September quarter. That compared with the 12.5 billion-rupee median of 30 analyst estimates compiled by the Bloomberg.

Federal Bank Ltd. surged 10 percent to a three-month high after its quarterly profit beat forecasts, the top performer on the S&P BSE Bankex index of 13 lenders.

Zee Rallies

Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd., which runs television channels, surged to the highest level since April 2000 after reporting profits higher than expectations.

Tata Consultancy slid 2.3 percent to 2,071.65 rupees and HCL Technologies lost 1.7 percent to 1,084.1 rupees. Cigarette maker ITC, which has the highest weighting in the Sensex, lost 2.8 percent, the most since Sept. 3.

The Sensex has risen 7.6 percent this year and is valued at 14.2 times estimated 12-month profits, compared with 10.8 times for the MSCI Emerging Markets index.

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