Indian shares give up early gains on record fresh virus cases, Maharashtra 'lockdown'
Indian shares reversed early gains to trade lower on Thursday, after the country reported a record spike in fresh COVID-19 cases and its richest state imposed a lockdown, stoking fears of further economic pains
Indian shares reversed early gains to trade lower on Thursday, after the country reported a record spike in fresh COVID-19 cases and its richest state imposed a lockdown, stoking fears of further economic pains.
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The NSE Nifty 50 index fell 0.5% to 14,432.0 by 0524 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex was 0.6% lower at 48,274.27, as the two indexes continued their retreat from record highs hit in mid-February amid surging virus cases.
Maharashtra, home to India`s financial hub Mumbai, entered a lockdown starting midnight April 14 until the end of the month, while nationwide infections hit a new daily record of more than 200,000 over the last 24 hours.
"The rise in cases is a clear dampener... even though the lockdown was expected the market will see knee-jerk reactions and will take time to digest things as rumours are now news," said Mayuresh Joshi, head of equity research at William O`Neil & Co.
IT services heavyweight Infosys Ltd led losses on the benchmark index, after reporting a rise in quarterly profit and forecasting higher annual revenue for the year.
"The results (for Infosys) were priced in and we saw nothing from the company that was above expectations... we`re seeing some knee jerk selling here," Joshi added.
The company`s stocks dragged the wider IT services sector down about 0.6%.
Pharmaceutical companies, several of which make COVID-19 medication, advanced 1.6%, as demand for such drugs including remdesivir rises.
State-run banks fell 2.3% and were among the top losing sectors. The index has dropped over 6% so far this week.
Auto stocks were also about 2% lower, with Eicher Motors dropping over 3%.
Metal stocks advanced 0.3% as iron ore prices surged on strong demand.
Stronger metal prices and stable demand had helped metal stocks through the year, but a re-rating of prices may be on the horizon, Joshi said.
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