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Markets

Indian shares flat as consumer stocks rise, metals fall

  • "Overall, the market is not very concerned about the restrictions as they are not likely to be as bad as last time, and the central bank too seems to be more accommodative this time," he added.
09 Apr 2021

BENGALURU: Indian shares were little changed on Friday, as consumer goods stocks jumped after some states imposed new restrictions to combat a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, while investors sold off high-flying metal stocks.

The country's 10-year bond yield slipped below 6% for the first time in nearly two months, continuing a slide after the central bank announced a secondary market government securities acquisition programme this week.

Surging COVID-19 infections have threatened to disrupt a nascent economic recovery in India and dragged its main stock indexes from record highs hit in February.

Total cases in the country jumped by another daily record on Friday.

Still, analysts believe that the impact on the market may not be very significant as a nationwide lockdown of the kind seen last year, which left many thousands jobless, is not expected.

The NSE Nifty 50 index was down 0.03% at 14,871.45, while the S&P BSE Sensex was 0.01% lower at 49,743.85.

Consumer products giant Hindustan Unilever was up 3% and the biggest boost to the Nifty 50. Shares in consumer goods companies were up 0.8%.

"There seems to be a steady return to restocking of staples, as restrictions come into force, and the market is clearly trying to capture that movement when buying into (consumer goods) stocks," said Saurabh Jain, assistant vice president of research at SMC Securities in New Delhi.

"Overall, the market is not very concerned about the restrictions as they are not likely to be as bad as last time, and the central bank too seems to be more accommodative this time," he added.

Metals stocks, the best performing sector this year with a 37% advance, slipped 0.73%.

Meanwhile, the southern state of Karnataka late on Thursday became the latest to announce night curfews, imposing curbs in a number of districts with soaring COVID-19 cases, including in the technology hub of Bengaluru.