Mar 01, 2012 02:48 PM IST | Source: Reuters

BSE Sensex loses gains as GDP growth sags

SENSEX-NIFTY-GDP-ONGC-RELIANCE:BSE Sensex loses gains as GDP growth sags

BSE Sensex loses gains as GDP growth sags

By Nandita Bose

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The BSE Sensex lost most of its early gains to end 0.1 percent higher on Wednesday, after data showed the economic growth slowed in the December quarter to its weakest annual pace in almost three years.

The GDP rose 6.1 percent in the period compared with a year earlier, as high interest rates and rising input costs hurt investment and manufacturing.

(Read main story: GDP grows 6.1 pct in Q3, weakest in almost 3 years, click http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/02/29/india-economy-gdp-manufacturing-growth-idINDEE81S06S20120229)

"The GDP data was disappointing but the possibility of positive newsflow from the euro zone has held markets at the current levels, else it would have fallen more," said Amabareesh Baliga, chief operating officer, Way2Wealth Securities.

The main 30-share BSE index, which rose as much as 1.5 percent earlier in the day, closed up 21.56 points at 17,752.68, with 17 of its components rising. The index gained 3.3 percent in February -- its second monthly rise .

The benchmark has risen about 15 percent in 2012, with foreign funds buying more than $7 billion of equity.

Shares in state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) gained 3.5 percent, outpacing the wider market, ahead of a government share auction in the company on Thursday, which is expected to receive strong demand.

The Indian government plans to raise at least $2.5 billion by selling a 5 percent stake in the country's largest oil and gas producer.

Energy major Reliance Industries led the gains and ended 3 percent higher. Traders said the company is expected to restart a 290,000 barrels per day (bpd) crude distillation unit (CDU) within one or two days.

Banks fell on worries high inflation could make it difficult for the central bank to cut interest rates after Brent crude prices rose above $122 per barrel.

Private lenders ICICI Bank fell 0.5 percent and HDFC Bank fell 2.5 percent, while State Bank of India, the country's biggest lender, bucked the trend by rising 0.7 percent.

Bajaj Auto rose 15.1 percent and Tata Motors gained 13.7 percent in February, making them the biggest gainers this month.

The monthly losers were led by Bharti Airtel, which fell 8.4 percent, and Cipla , which lost 7.5 percent.

European shares rose on Wednesday on hopes a fresh cash injection by the European Central Bank will help further temper market tension and underpin risk appetite.

The 50-share NSE index ended 0.18 percent up at 5,385.2. In the broader market, there were about 1.4 gainers for every loser on volume of 973.6 million shares.

Elsewhere, the MSCI's measure of Asian markets other than Japan was up 1.44 percent.

STOCKS ON THE MOVE

* Power equipment maker BGR Energy rose 9.6 percent after its joint venture with Hitachi Power Europe GmbH emerged as the lowest bidder for a 160-billion-rupee order from NTPC Ltd. Rival Larsen & Toubro Ltd , India's biggest engineering conglomerate, fell 3 percent.

* Sanghvi Forging and Engineering rose 10.7 percent after it said it won an order worth 50 million rupees.

TOP 3 BY VOLUME

* Lanco Infra with 77.9 million shares

* GVK Power with 46.8 million shares

* IFCI with 33.5 million shares

(Reporting by Nandita Bose; Editing by Aradhana Aravindan)

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