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Sensex edges higher; earnings season in focus next

An employee walks out of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai August 22, 2013. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

By Abhishek Vishnoi

MUMBAI (Reuters) - The BSE Sensex edged higher amid volatility caused due to the expiry of the September equity derivative contracts on Thursday, led by Sun Pharma, which rose to an all-time high on hopes of higher sales of a key cancer drug.

Financial shares gained after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said on Wednesday it would take action, including conducting open market operations, to ensure adequate liquidity is available in the banking system and acknowledged liquidity conditions had been tightening.

Traders say the markets may at best consolidate around the current levels as earnings reports, which are not expected to spring any positive surprises, would be in focus during October while the general elections would become the main focus in November.

"Focus would be on earnings but only very few players are going to report profit growth, so expect the market to remain dull and sideways for now" said Jyotheesh Kumar, executive vice president of HDFC Securities,

The BSE index rose 0.19 percent, or 37.61 points, to end at 19,893.85.

The broader NSE index rose 0.14 percent, or 8.40 points, to end at 5,882.25, taking support around its 200-day moving average for the third consecutive day.

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (NSI:SUNPHARMA.NS - News) ended up 2.2 percent after touching an all-time high of 587 rupees on expectations of higher sales of its key cancer drug, Doxil, after innovator Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc, a unit of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) (NYS:JNJ - News), said the drug will likely be in short supply in the coming weeks.

The expected shortage in supply is due to an interruption from the company's supplier, Ben Venue Laboratories Inc, J&J said.

Financial shares that benefited from RBI's assurance on liquidity included ICICI Bank Ltd (NSI:ICICIBANK.NS - News) which rose 1.2 percent. Housing Development Finance Corp Ltd (NSI:HDFC.NS - News) gained 1.7 percent on value buying after recent losses.

Shares in Gillette India Ltd (NSI:GILLETTE.NS - News) surged 10.5 percent after India's market regulator allowed the company to re-classify one of its promoters as a public shareholder in order to become compliant with India's minimum public shareholding rules.

Indian software services exporter Wipro Ltd (NSI:WIPRO.NS - News) gained 0.6 percent ahead of its inclusion in the NSE index effective Friday.

Reliance Infrastructure Ltd (NSI:RELINFRA.NS - News) fell 1.5 percent a day ahead of its exclusion from the NSE index.

JSW Steel Ltd (NSI:JSWSTEEL.NS - News) fell 1.7 percent after BNP Paribas downgraded the stock to "reduce" from "hold", citing expensive valuation after recent outperformance due to a delay in the U.S. Federal Reserve's tapering of monetary stimulus in September.

(Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)