Shares were little changed on Friday as Infosys and other IT services stocks gained after having lagged the broader market for much of this month, while ITC slid after a lacklustre earnings report. Stock benchmarks have climbed more than 11 per cent this month after a range of positive developments, including a high-spending union budget, strong corporate earnings, and progress on COVID-19 vaccinations. The NSE Nifty 50 index was up 0.04 per cent at 15,180.00 by 0430 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.08 per cent to 51,572.31.
The Nifty IT index, tracking the country’s software services firms, was up one per cent, rising the most among 14 sectoral indexes. Up to Thursday’s close, the index had gained only about five per cent in February, a month in which the Nifty 50 and most other sectors have seen double-digit gains.
“We are seeing sectoral rotation, which is part of a bull market … IT has done well already, but after a pause, it is rallying again,” said A.K. Prabhakar, head of research at IDBI Capital in Mumbai. Prabhakar added that a withdrawal by India and China of some troops from a bitterly contested border area was also aiding sentiment.
Software services giant Infosys was the top boost to the Nifty 50 with a 1.8 per cent gain. Cigarettes-to-hotels conglomerate ITC fell nearly four per cent after it posted lower December-quarter profit.
Bayer Cropscience plunged 6.4 per cent after reporting a quarterly loss, while conglomerate Piramal Enterprises jumped 5.7 per cent after its quarterly profit rose. Other Asian shares hovered just below a record high as mixed U.S. economic data caused some investors to show restraint.