The benchmark BSE Sensex edged lower on Thursday, retreating from record highs hit in the previous session, as state-run Coal India slumped after the government decided to sell a part of its stake, while recent outperformers were hit by profit-taking.
Coal India fell as much as 5.1 percent on concerns that the government stake sale, due on Friday, would be at a discount to the stock’s current market price.
Investors remained cautious ahead of the expiry of monthly derivative contracts at the close of the session, and as Asian shares fell after the Federal Reserve took an upbeat view of the U.S. economy and signalled it remained firmly on track to raise interest rates this year.
“Markets are likely to trade range-bound. People are waiting for clear cues from the RBI as well as the budget. We advise clients to be cautious as it’s near record highs,” said Suresh Parmar, head, institutional equities at KJMC Capital Markets.
The NSE index was down 0.3 percent to 8,887.25 points, heading for its first losing session in the past nine. The index hit a record high of 8,985.05 on Wednesday.
The BSE index was 0.25 percent lower at 29,484.26, coming off a life high of 29,786.32 hit in the previous session.
Recent outperformers such as banks fell on profit-taking. State Bank of India, which gained 7.3 percent this month till Wednesday, fell 1.1 percent, while ICICI Bank lost 2 percent. The stock put on 8.8 percent in January till Wednesday.
However, HDFC Bank rose 2.1 percent after the government allowed the lender to raise 100 billion rupees a via share sale.
Lupin Ltd gained 2 percent after the government allowed the drugmaker to increase the foreign investment limit in the company to 49 percent from 33 percent.