Most Indian stocks fell, led by consumer companies, putting the benchmark index on course for a weekly loss for a third time this month.
Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUVR) dropped to a seven-week low, while cigarette maker ITC Ltd. (ITC) slid for a second day. Sesa Sterlite Ltd., the nation’s largest copper producer, retreated the most in a week, while Gail India Ltd., a natural-gas supplier, fell for a second day.
Three shares declined for each that climbed on the S&P BSE Sensex (SENSEX), which lost less than 0.1 percent to 27,197.54 at 11:25 p.m. in Mumbai. The gauge is headed for its worst month since February 2013. Foreigners pulled $ 1.1 billion from shares in 11 days through Dec. 22, the longest series of outflows since June 2012, as falling oil prices and Russia’s currency crisis cooled demand for developing-nations equities.
“Foreign investors are selling as they would be receiving redemptions in emerging-market funds,” David Pezarkar, chief investment officer for equities at BOI AXA Investment Managers Pvt., said in an interview to Bloomberg TV India today. “There are fears that some sovereign funds from oil-rich nations could reduce allocations to India because of the fall in prices.”
Indian stocks and bonds may get about $ 18 billion to $ 20 billion in 2015, versus this year’s combined inflows of $ 43 billion, according to Credit Suisse Group AG. Sovereign funds have invested an average $ 8 billion to $ 10 billion into Indian stocks annually, the brokerage said on Dec. 10. Oil has fallen 45 percent this year, poised for the biggest drop since 2008.
Hindustan Unilever declined 1.3 percent to its lowest level since Nov. 3. ITC, which has the highest weighting on the Sensex, declined 1 percent. Sesa Sterlite lost 0.8 percent, while Tata Steel Ltd. (TATA), the biggest producer of the alloy, slid 0.7 percent. Gail India fell 0.8 percent.
Shares of SpiceJet Ltd. jumped 7.1 percent, taking this week’s gains to 20 percent. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is partnering with SpiceJet’s co-founder to take a $ 200 million holding in the troubled Indian carrier, a senior government official said.
A private-equity unit of JPMorgan and Ajay Singh, who quit as a director of the airline in 2010, plans to buy the entire stake held by majority shareholder Kalanithi Maran, said the official with direct knowledge of Singh’s plans.
The Sensex has rallied 28 percent this year, on course for its biggest annual climb since 2009. The gains have been fueled by inflows of $ 16.3 billion, the second-highest among eight Asian markets tracked by Bloomberg, after Japan. The measure is valued at 15 times projected 12-month profits. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index trades at a multiple of 11.1.
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