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Sensex weak for 6th day, NTPC shares fall


Indian stock markets were weak for the sixth day in a row on Thursday. Weakness in Asian markets and a Rs 11,500 crore auction in state-run power utility NTPC weighed on investors.

The Sensex opened with over 50 point cut but pared some losses. The BSE benchmark traded 11 points or 0.05 per cent lower at 19,629 while the broader Nifty was down 3 points to 5,957 as of 09.50 a.m. The rupee, however, edged up against the dollar on sustained fund flows.

Markets have been consolidating for the past few weeks even though foreign institutional investors have pumped in record funds into equities. The Nifty has crucial supports at 5,940-5,920 levels, below which larger downsides might open, analysts said.

The auction for 783.26 million shares in power utility NTPC got underway on Thursday. The government is selling a 9.5 per cent stake in NTPC in a bid to raise around Rs 11,500 crore ($2.25 billion) from the stock markets. The floor price for the share sale has been set at Rs 145 -- a 4.5 per cent discount to the stock's closing price on Wednesday.

Shares in NTPC traded 1.35 per cent lower at Rs 149.75, underperforming the broader BSE Power index, which traded 0.24 per cent down. NTPC shares have corrected nearly 4.5 per cent over the last week, but most analysts are positive on the share sale.

21 stocks traded higher on the Nifty, but blue chips such as State Bank of India and Reliance Industries were flat. Infra major Jaiprakash Associates was the top Nifty gainer, rebounding after days of sustained selling.

Infra lender IDFC and drug maker Ranbaxy Lab were the other stocks trading with over 1 per cent gains on the Nifty.

Drug maker Cipla was the top Nifty loser, down 1.6 per cent, on weak margins in the third quarter. Two-wheeler major Hero MotoCorp, cement major UltraTech and miner Sesa Goa also traded with over 1 per cent cut.

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