Mumbai: Indian stocks fell for a sixth day, the longest stretch of losses in a year, as lenders and carmakers declined amid growing concern the government will fail to meet its fiscal deficit targets. The BSE India Sensitive Index, or Sensex, retreated 0.9 per cent to 18,309.37, the lowest close since September 13. The S&P CNX Nifty Index on the National Stock Exchange of India lost 1 per cent to 5,574.05. State Bank of India, the nation's biggest lender, fell 2.1 per cent. Tata Motors, the owner of Jaguar and Land Rover, slid the most in two weeks.
The Sensex erased an advance of 0.5 per cent as European stocks declined and as finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram told reporters in New Delhi that it was too early to say the deficit goal won't be reached. The government raised less than 25 per cent of its target from selling mobile-phone airwaves, a sale Chidambaram was counting on to help avert a credit-rating downgrade and narrow the budget deficit.
"There's doubt whether Chidambaram will be able to stick to the fiscal deficit target," Sunil Pachisia, vice president at Pratibhuti Viniyog, said. "The finance minister's comments on fiscal deficit were unconvincing."
The Sensex dropped 3.1 per cent the past six days, a streak that is the longest since the eight days to November 21. The gauge is valued at 14.9 times estimated profit, more than the MSCI Emerging Markets Index's multiple of 11.2.
European stocks and Untied States index futures retreated as US lawmakers prepared for talks to avert the country's so-called fiscal cliff of automatic tax increases and spending cuts.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.2 per cent and futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index slid 0.1 per cent in London.
Speculation the central bank will delay interest-cuts also dragged stocks lower today after Reserve Bank of India governor Duvvuri Subbarao said inflation is still at an elevated level.
The benchmark inflation gauge had eased to an eight month-low in October. "At 7.45 per cent, the inflation is quite high as of now," Subbarao said in the western Indian city of Pune.
"We will look at all data from October policy review to December review before taking any action." The central bank holds its next policy review on December 18.
The RBI held interest rates for a fourth meeting on October 30, citing price pressures and resisting calls from Chidambaram to reduce borrowing costs. While the monetary authority has signaled it may ease policy in the January-to-March quarter as inflation cools, Chidambaram renewed his call for lower rates to boost growth and consumer sentiment.
Data on November 12 showed Indian industrial production unexpectedly shrank in the month of September. The nation's trade deficit widened to a record last month as exports declined, adding to signs Asia's third-largest economy is struggling.
India's gross domestic product will increase 5.8 per cent in the year through March, the Reserve Bank of India said in a statement on October 30. That would be the slowest pace since 2003 and less than the 6.5 per cent forecast in July.