The BSE Sensex and Nifty fell for the third straight day on Friday, hitting their lowest close in over two weeks as Mahindra and Mahindra declined on concerns over weak monsoon, while other blue-chips slipped on risk aversion related to Iraq violence.
Oil held near $115 a barrel on Friday, close to a nine-month high, and was headed for its second weekly gain on increased risks of disruption to supply from Iraq.
The monsoon has covered half of India’s landmass four days behind the usual schedule, failing to recover from a late start that has slowed sowing of summer crops in a country where half of the farmland still lacks irrigation.
The Sensex and Nifty also ended down for the second consecutive week on profit-taking after touching record highs on June 11 and worries over escalating tensions in Iraq. Investors will be closely monitoring the progress of monsoon and the budget due by mid-July for near-term direction.
“We feel that, a progressive budget as well as other reform initiatives will likely lead to continued outperformance of Indian indexes versus emerging market peers,” said Dipen Shah, head of private client group research, Kotak Securities.
However, a continued rise in crude oil prices would be negative for India’s current account, rupee and inflation, Shah added.
The benchmark BSE Sensex fell 0.38 per cent, or 96.29 points, to end at 25,105.51. For the week, it closed down 0.48 per cent.
The broader Nifty lost 0.39 per cent, or 29.25 points, to end at 7,511.45, also falling 0.4 per cent over the week.
Both indexes also marked their lowest close since June 5.
Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd fell 2.7 per cent on worries that weak monsoon may hit its tractor sales, investors said.
ICICI Bank fell 1.1 per cent, while State Bank of India lost 0.9 per cent.
Reliance Industries ended down 0.5 per cent while Oil and Natural Gas Corp fell 0.8 per cent.
Among other blue-chips, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries fell 1.7 per cent and Larsen & Toubro lost 0.5 per cent.
Among stocks that gained, jewellery maker Titan Co Ltd surged 4.2 per cent after a rally in gold prices and on a bullish report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
KPR Mill Ltd ended 6.3 per cent higher after earlier marking a record high of Rs. 253.15 on hopes of power cost savings and debt repayment in their sugar business, multiple dealers said.