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Markets

Indian shares fall over 1% as financials drag, coronavirus cases spike

  • The Nifty bank index and finance index fell 1.6% and 1.4%, respectively, while the metals index dropped 2.6%.
Published March 24, 2021

BENGALURU: Indian shares fell on Wednesday, dragged down by financial companies and weakness in global stocks, as worries over the economic impact from a continued surge in domestic coronavirus cases weighed on sentiment.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index fell 1.2% to 14,638 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex dropped 1.1% to 49,7508, as of 0510 GMT.

India's daily COVID-19 cases hit a more than four-month high on Wednesday. The government has said it would expand its vaccination campaign from April to include everyone above 45.

"The economic activity comes down with surge in (virus) cases," said Siddhartha Khemka, head of retail research at Motilal Oswal Financial Services in Mumbai.

"The global market cues are not very positive. COVID-19 cases are going up globally and that is a major concern. Until you see some cool off sustainably in commodity prices and bond yields, equity markets are unlikely to go up in a hurry."

Asian shares hit a two-week low on Wednesday, oil weakened further and the dollar neared four-month highs as coronavirus lockdowns in Europe and potential US tax hikes hit risk appetite, leading to a flight to safety.

The Nifty bank index and finance index fell 1.6% and 1.4%, respectively, while the metals index dropped 2.6%.

The Nifty bank index had risen more than 2% on Tuesday after India's top court rejected pleas for extending moratorium on bank loan repayments.

Shares of speciality chemicals maker Anupam Rasayan India fell 6.3% in their market debut in Mumbai after the company's 7.60 billion rupees initial public offering was subscribed more than 44 times.

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