BENGALURU: Indian shares snapped their three-day rally on Friday as a continued global surge in the Omicron coronavirus variant kept investors on the edge, though two studies showed it was less severe than the Delta variant.
The NSE Nifty 50 index was down 0.90% at 17,203 by 0510 GMT and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.80% to 56,858.94. The indexes were on track for a second week of losses, down about 0.2%.
Omicron advanced across the world, with health experts warning the battle against the COVID-19 variant was far from over despite two drugmakers saying their vaccines protected against it and studies showing it carries a lower risk of hospitalisation.
"The overall trend is still negative ... We need to have more clarity over the new variant and its impact. We are seeing different trends in different countries," said Ajit Mishra, vice president Research, Religare Broking Ltd.
Markets are trading in line with global peers, but it will be difficult to extend the rebound despite rising COVID-19 cases, he added.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked chiefs of states to ramp up oxygen supplies and strengthen health infrastructure to contain a possible surge of Omicron cases ahead of the festive season.
The information technology (IT) index was the lone sectoral gainer, rising 0.7%. The index, up 2.5% so far this week, is on track to gain for a fourth straight week.
The deal pipeline for IT services companies continue to be strong, which is reflecting in investor confidence on those companies, said Mishra.
Meanwhile, shares of defence solutions provider Data Patterns (India) made a strong debut in the Mumbai market, listing at a premium of 48%.