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BENGALURU: Indian shares kicked off May on a tepid note, weighed down by losses in automobile and IT stocks, as investors cautiously awaited an expected rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve this week.

At the close of trade on Monday, the NSE Nifty 50 index was down 0.2% at 17,069.10, while the S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.15% to 56,975.99. The benchmark indexes fell in the previous session, registering a third consecutive week of losses.

Indian markets will be closed on Tuesday for a holiday.

Nifty’s IT and auto sub-indexes were among the top segment losers, falling more than 1% each.

Some losses on the Nifty 50 were capped by Coal India and HDFC Bank, advancing 2.6% and 1.4%, respectively.

Indian shares end lower as Reliance, Axis Bank weigh

Investor focus will turn to the Fed, which is widely expected to raise interest rates by 50 basis points when its meeting concludes on Wednesday.

Market participants will also watch for signals about the future path for interest rates, the Fed’s plans for reducing its balance sheet and its view on when inflationary pressures will recede.

Nifty 50 component Britannia Industries was 0.2% lower, ahead of its quarterly earnings results. HDFC Ltd closed 1.5% higher after it reported a 16.4% rise in profit after tax for the March-quarter.

“The recent hawkish turn by the Fed has made investors extra cautious ahead of the upcoming meeting, triggering high volatility in the market. The rising dollar index and elevated commodity prices further hammered the risk sentiment,” said Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Services.

The Nifty metal index was up 0.57%.

D B Realty closed nearly 5% lower. The company said the Central Bureau of Investigation has carried out searches on the premises of its unit.

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