Indian Stocks Fall as Technology Shares Retreat From Record

Indian stocks fell, led by technology companies, after a gauge for the industry reached a record high last week.

Infosys Ltd., the nation’s second-biggest software exporter, declined 1.7 percent and the MSCI India Information Technology Index slipped 1 percent from an all-time high. Larsen & Toubro Ltd., India’s largest engineering company, retreated 1.3 percent. Sesa Sterlite Ltd. rose 0.7 percent after winning approval to restart its iron ore mines in Karnataka.

The S&P BSE Sensex lost 0.2 percent to 21,143.01 at the close in Mumbai, while the CNX Nifty index dropped 0.4 percent on trading volumes 41 percent below the 30-day average. About two stocks fell for each that rose in the S&P BSE 100 Index. India’s top three software-services exporters, which get more than 90 percent of their sales from abroad, are among the four best performers on the Sensex in 2013 amid an 11 percent drop in the rupee and improving growth in developed economies.

“Investors are booking profits in technology stocks and some industrials,” Jitendra Panda, the Mumbai-based head of broking at Capital First Ltd., said in a phone interview. “Big funds are not active during the holiday season and so the volumes are lower.”

The Sensex has climbed 8.8 percent this year, the best performance among benchmark equity indexes in the four-largest emerging markets. The Indian gauge trades at 13.6 times projected earnings for the next 12 months, compared with the MSCI Emerging Markets Index’s 10.5 times. The MSCI India technology gauge has a multiple of 17.3.

Sensex Outlook

Infosys fell the most in a week after closing at a record on Dec. 27. Rival Wipro Ltd. lost 0.6 percent, paring this year’s gain to 57 percent. Larsen dropped to a one-week low.

Sesa Sterlite gained 0.7 percent. The company, controlled by billionaire Anil Agarwal, received clearance from a committee appointed by the nation’s top court to produce as much as 2.29 million metric tons of iron ore a year, Executive Director Prasun Kumar Mukherjee said today. Output in the three months to March may reach 1.2 million to 1.5 million tons and can be sold through electronic auctions, he said.

Global investors bought a net $126.5 million of local shares on Dec. 26, taking this year’s inflows to $19.9 billion, the most in Asia after Japan, data from the market regulator show. Net purchases last year were $24.6 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The Sensex will probably climb to 23,200 next year, about 9.5 percent higher than the close on Dec. 27, according to the average of eight analysts’ predictions compiled by Bloomberg.

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