India’s Sensex Advances for Fourth Day, Narrows Weekly Loss

Indian stocks climbed, led by metals and pharmaceuticals producers, narrowing a weekly loss in the benchmark index.

Tata Steel Ltd. rallied 6.4 percent, sending the S&P BSE India Metal Index to its steepest gain since October. Drugmaker Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. had the sharpest advance in two weeks. State Bank of India rose for a third day this week.

The S&P BSE Sensex added 0.3 percent 20,376.56, paring the weekly drop to 0.7 percent. The gauge has lost 4.7 percent from its Jan. 23 record as foreigners pulled $186 million from local shares this year amid a selloff in emerging-market equities. Global funds have been net sellers of Indian stocks even as 75 percent of the 30 Sensex companies that have posted earnings so far for the three months ended December have beaten or matched estimates, compared with 70 percent in the September quarter and 47 percent three months earlier.

“Foreigners have been in a sell mode but it is hard to see why the market will sell off aggressively as results have not been too disappointing,” Sajiv Dhawan, managing director of New Delhi-based JV Capital Services Pvt., told Bloomberg TV India in an interview today. He is advising investors to buy shares of software exporters and drugmakers.

Tata Steel pared this year’s loss to 9.4 percent. Copper maker Sesa Sterlite Ltd. surged 3.6 percent, the most since Jan. 9. The metals index climbed to its highest level since Oct. 18.

Sun Pharmaceuticals gained 2.9 percent, the most in two weeks. Cipla Ltd. rose 1.7 percent and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. gained 1.2 percent. State Bank added 1.5 percent after falling 0.1 percent intraday. Axis Bank Ltd. rose 2 percent.

Unexpected Loss

Tata Power fell 0.5 percent, reversing an earlier advance of as much as 2 percent, after reporting an unexpected loss in the third quarter. The company reported a loss of 749.1 million rupees compared with a loss of 3.2 billion rupees a year earlier. Twenty three analysts had estimated a 2 billion rupees profit in a Bloomberg survey.

The Sensex has lost 3.8 percent this year and trades at 12.8 times projected 12-month profits, near the cheapest level since August. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is valued at 9.2 times forward earnings.

The CNX Nifty Index increased 0.5 percent to 6,063.20. The India VIX fell 2.1 percent.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.