Indian stocks dropped for the first time this week as some investors avoided taking fresh bets ahead of the corporate earnings season starting next week.
Bajaj Auto Ltd, the nation's second-biggest motorcycle maker, and Bharti Airtel Ltd, the largest mobile services company, paced decline among their peers. Infosys Ltd, the second-biggest software maker, will be the first company on the benchmark stock index to report earnings on January 12 for the three months ended December 31.
The BSE India Sensitive Index, or Sensex, fell 0.4 per cent to 15,882.64 in Mumbai after moving between gains and losses at least 18 times. The S&P CNX Nifty Index on the National Stock Exchange of India Ltd declined 0.3 per cent to 4,749.65. Both gauges yesterday jumped the most since December 21.
"We don't expect significant moves before the earnings season as the extent of damage to profits from slowing domestic demand and Europe's crisis is not clear," K.K. Mital, a fund manager at Globe Capital Market Ltd, said from New Delhi.
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Earnings forecasts for Sensex companies for the year to March 2012 have fallen 8.7 per cent to Rs1,150 (Dh80) per share, the most since the year ended March 2009, according to about 1,500 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
The Sensex slumped 25 per cent last year on concern a weakening rupee, accelerating inflation and record interest-rate increases would worsen the effects of the European crisis on company profitability.