MUMBAI – The BSE Sensex edged up enough to mark a fourth consecutive gaining session on Monday as defensive stocks such as ITC and drug makers rose amid global risk aversion ahead of US elections and a key parliamentary vote in Greece.
Global shares fell, while the dollar strengthened to two-month highs, on Monday as investors were unwilling to hold too much risk, as the US poll on Tuesday will be followed by a Greek vote on austerity measures on Wednesday.
The risk aversion sent the rupee to a one-and-a-half month low against the dollar, and analysts said global cues would be critical for domestic markets in the days ahead.
Quarterly earnings results, including from blue chips Bharti Airtel Ltd, Tata Motors Ltd, and State Bank of India, due this week will also be key.
Domestic markets will be range-bound in coming weeks, will take cues from US presidential elections, said Daljeet Singh Kohli, head of research at India Nivesh Securities.
The BSE index rose 0.04%, or 7.42 points, to end at 18,762.87 points, bringing its gains to 1.8% over the past four sessions.
The 50-share NSE index rose 0.11%, or 6.50 points, to 5,704.20, closing above the psychologically important 5,700 level for the first time since 25 October, and has gained 1.9% over the previous four sessions.
Defensive stocks gained, with some consumer good companies favoured since they are seen as offering steadier returns and potential for growth.
Cigarette maker ITC Ltd rose 1.9%, while Colgate Palmolive (India) Ltd rose 2.5%.
Drug makers also advanced, especially following good quarterly results announced recently.
Dr. Reddys Laboratories Ltd rose 1.3%, advancing for a sixth consecutive session. Indias no. 2 drug maker posted on Tuesday a better-than-expected 32% rise in quarterly net profit.
Cipla Ltd rose 0.9% ahead of its quarterly earnings later in the day.
ACC Ltd rose 2% after October cement shipments rose by 3.5% to 2.04 million tonnes, a sturdier performance than expected.
Ambuja Cements Ltd gained 1.3%.
However, Bajaj Auto Ltd dropped 2.1% on profit-taking after hitting all-time high on Friday, when the company had announced record domestic motorcycle sales for October.
Shares in Crompton Greaves Ltd dropped 8.4% after the power equipment makers said on Friday net profit dropped 64% in the July-September quarter.
Citigroup downgraded Crompton Greaves to neutral from buy saying earnings were lower than expected due to losses and lower margins in its consumer business.
Public sector banks with disappointing July-September quarterly earnings fell.
Vijaya Bank shares fell 2.9% after reporting a 40% fall in September quarter net profit, while Allahabad Bank shares fell 2.3% after reporting a 52% fall in July-September net profit.
Jubilant Foodworks Ltd fell 2.2% after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to equal-weight from overweight, citing a recent out-performance in the shares and an absence of near-term catalysts.
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