Employees work at computers at a brokerage firm in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

India Sensex Declines as Investors Pause to Focus on State Polls

(Bloomberg) -- India’s benchmark equity index fell as investors trod slowly ahead of the key state elections over the next two months.

The S&P BSE Sensex fluctuated between gains and losses several times through the day to finally end 0.5 percent lower at 33,891.13 in Mumbai. Reliance Industries Ltd., the country’s second-largest company by market capitalization was the biggest drag on the gauge. The index had jumped the most in two weeks on Monday. The NSE Nifty 50 Index also lost 0.5 percent.

“We expect the market to consolidate around current levels before extending gains,” said Rajendra Kumar Wadher, a Mumbai-based director at PRB Securities Ltd. “The state elections and uncertainty around them will prompt investors take a pause.”

Investors will be closely watching the outcome of elections in key five Indian states in November and December to gauge the nation’s mood ahead of the national polls next year. Of the 29 NSE Nifty 50 Index companies that have announced results so far, 17 have either met or exceeded profit estimates.

Twelve of 19 industry sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. advanced Tuesday, led by a gauge of technology companies. Public-sector banks extended their gains into a second day on optimism bad loans have been brought under control. The Nifty PSU Bank index climbed 2.5 percent led by Union Bank of India and Canara Bank.

The Sensex has lost over 12 percent since climbing to a record in August.

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