Indian shares fell to a three-week low yesterday after disappointing quarterly earnings hit Bank of Baroda and IDFC, while investors continued to book profits in recent outperformers such as ONGC.
Broader losses were capped as Tata Motors and UltraTech Cement rebounded from Friday's steep falls when the two stocks were affected by a technology glitch at a domestic brokerage that resulted in "unintended transactions".
Sentiment has been dented ever since the Indian central bank disappointed investors last week with a more cautious than expected stance on future rate cuts. The BSE index has fallen 1.44 per cent since then as of Monday's close.
Analysts expect trading to remain rangebound in the lead-up to the presentation of the current federal budget on February 28.
The finance minister P Chidambaram has repeated his commitment to controlling spending, especially at a time when India faces fiscal and current account deficits.
"There is a big gap between the previous trigger that is RBI [Reserve Bank of India] rate cut and the next which is the budget, so there is some profit-booking in the interim," said G Chokkalingam, the executive director and chief investment officer at Centrum Wealth Management.
The BSE index fell 0.15 per centto 19,751.19 points, its lowest close since January 11.
The broader NSE index fell 0.19 per cent to end at 5,987.25, closing below the psychologically important 6,000 level.
Bank of Baroda shares slumped 7.36 per cent after the lender said that fourth-quarter net profit fell 21.6 per cent from a year earlier to 10.12 billion rupees. Shares in IDFC fell 5.42 per cent after the lender and consultant for infrastructure projects registered weak loan growth in the December quarter and reported an in-line profit growth.