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BENGALURU: Indian stocks opened lower on Monday, tracking weakness in global markets, as sentiment took a hit due to protests in major Chinese cities against the country’s strict zero-COVID policy.

The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex opened down 0.23% to 62,150.97, while the NSE Nifty 50 index fell 0.19% to 18,477.35, before erasing all the opening losses.

Nifty MidCap 100 and Nifty SmallCap 100 outperformed their larger peers, rising 0.34% and 0.47%, respectively.

The slide followed a decline in Asian markets due to worries about COVID-19 management in the world’s second-largest economy, after demonstrators and police clashed in Shanghai on Sunday.

The MSCI Asia ex-Japan index shed 1.45%. Fears about a COVID-led dent in China’s economic growth also weighed on commodities, with Brent crude slipping to $83 per barrel.

Foreign institutional investors bought a net 3.69 billion rupees ($45.17 million) worth of equities on Friday, while domestic investors sold a net 2.96 billion rupees ($36.24 million) worth of shares, as per provisional NSE data.

India shares edge higher as bank stocks rally; Fed minutes in focus

Among individual shares, Paytm fell 5.2% after the Reserve Bank of India declined to allocate a payment aggregator licence to the company.

Shares of VA Tech Wabag rose 4.47%, the most since Nov. 15, after signing an agreement with Asian Development Bank towards raising 2 billion Indian rupees through unlisted non-convertible debentures.

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