Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys Technologies stole the show in an otherwise dull market on Friday as traders concentrated their energies on the two software bellwethers buffeted by different shades of news.
Tata Consultancy, India's largest software exporter, plunged 4 per cent to Rs2,250 after its Chief Executive Officer N Chandrasekaran, a long time Tata group lifer, was nominated as the new chairman of Tata Sons, the parent of TCS. The company, India's most valuable stock by market capitalisation, fell to a one-month low and recorded its highest traded volume since April 23, 2012.
Chandra, as he is better known as, began his career with the Tatas as a software professional in 1987. He has built TCS into a globally renowned and feared software services behemoth and now faces the challenge of steering the diversified group in volatile times. TCS' four per cent fall reflected the sudden change of leadership that wasn't immediately digested by investors. Over Rs1,000 crore worth of TCS shares changed hands.
Infosys, India's 2nd largest software exporter, reported a 2.8 per cent rise in third quarter profit to 3,708 crore rupees versus 3,606 crores in the sequential quarter. Revenue, however, dipped 1.2 percent to 17,273 crore rupees compared with 17,310 crore rupees. The stock rose as much as 3.2 per cent post earnings, but closed 2.7 percent lower at 973 rupees.
Broader markets, meanwhile, ended flat on Friday as investors hesitated to take positions either way ahead of the weekend. The Nifty closed 7 points lower at 8,400 points, snapping a 3-day rally and retracing from a 2-month high.
Here are the main events of the week's last trading day:
* The Sensex fell 9 points to end the session on 27,238 points. Axis Bank was the top gainer while TCS was the top loser. Infosys was the most traded counter on the Sensex.
* Idea Cellular, TCS, Hindalco, Infosys and NTPC drop 1.5-4.4% and were among 33 shares that fell on the Nifty. Idea Cellular had a particularly bearish outing in trade and its losses were accompanied by heavy volumes. The stock closed near its 52-week low.
* Axis Bank, ahead of earnings, GAIL, HDFC, ITC and Tech Mahindra rose 1.7-3.9% and were among 18 shares that rose on the Nifty.
* There were no surprises on the list of most traded stocks by value. Infosys took the first spot with 1,416 crore rupees worth of shares changing hands. TCS came in second with 1,041 crore rupees worth of stock being traded.
* Axis Bank was third on the list, the stock firming up ahead of third quarter earnings. Smaller rival IndusInd Bank has already set a bullish tone on private sector banks' earnings when it announced a strong set of numbers earlier this week. As a consequence, this category of stocks have been in an uptrend.
* Idea Cellular, NHPC and Reliance Communications saw strong volume trade on Friday.
* NMDC, Indiabulls Housing Finance, Havells, Oracle Financial and Shriram Transport saw strong, delivery based buying. These stocks appreciated between 1.2-3.7%.
* Maruti Suzuki, ahead of its new car launch, Bajaj Auto, Grasim and Dr. Reddy's fell between 1-1.4 percent.
* Broader markets closed unchanged with the Nifty 100, 200 and 500 indices barely registering any movement.
* The Nifty IT index was the top loser, down 1.3 percent, after top two components lost ground. The auto, metals, and realty sectors also came under a bit of selling.
* Strong upticks were seen in FMCG shares and pharma companies.
* Hectic speculative buying was seen on Kaveri Seed, DCB Bank, NMDC and McLeod Russel futures while Apollo Tyres, MRF, Hindalco and Century Textile Futures slipped in trade.
* Overall, the bears showed their hand for the first time in four days with 1,486 shares falling compared to 1,238 that rose on Dalal Street.