Indian shares inched higher in thin trade on Tuesday, boosted by index heavyweights such as Reliance Industries and HDFC Bank, as investors awaited cues from corporate results.
Broader Asian shares rose marginally as many markets reopened after the long Easter break, while oil prices jumped to its highest this year as the United States tightened sanctions on Iran.
"Possibility of Iran sanctions being deployed back could impact India, as 16-17 percent of our crude comes from there. Because of this, crude prices have shot up. This, coupled with lack of momentum across the board, depreciation in rupee and election uncertainty are weighing on the market," said Sahaj Agrawal — VP Derivatives with Kotak Securities.
"However, underlying trend of the market is clearly positive and we have witnessed a meaningful rally in 1-1/2 months and that has to follow with some healthy consolidation," Agrawal said adding that there could be some weakness in the near term.
The broader Nifty was up 0.25 percent at 11,623.85 as of 0652 GMT, while the benchmark Sensex inched up 0.26 percent to 38,746.10.
About 136,150 shares traded on the Nifty by 0652 GMT vs 30-day average of 341.4 million shares.
Technicals hint at a possible correction ahead. Nifty's Trend Intensity (TI) indicator is falling after reaching a high of 35, which shows the uptrend losing its steam. The MACD is below its signal line.
Nifty has gained 6.7 percent this year as of last close, underperforming the broader MSCI's Asia Pacific ex-Japan local currency index's 13.8 pct gains in the same period.
Reliance Industries gained up as much 2.1 percent, while HDFC Bank rose 1 percent.
A rally in financials also helped the indexes. ICICI Bank Ltd gained 1 percent, while Punjab National Bank added 2.7 percent.
Among the gainers, shares of Lupin Ltd posted their biggest intraday percentage gain since October 29 after brokerage Morgan Stanley raised its rating on the stock.
Bucking the broader trend, shares of GAIL (India) Ltd fell as much as 3.8 percent, hitting their lowest since February 27. The state-run natural gas distribution firm is set to buy seven wind power plants from debt-ridden Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS).