Indian shares inch lower as rising virus cases weigh; Reliance top drag

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
Indian shares inch lower as rising virus cases weigh; Reliance top drag
Credit: © Reuters.

By Anuron Kumar Mitra

BENGALURU, March 17 (Reuters) - Indian shares edged lower on Wednesday as rising domestic COVID-19 cases weighed on sentiment, while investors globally awaited the outcome of a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting.

By 0549 GMT, the blue chip NSE Nifty 50 index .NSEI shed 0.18% to 14,884, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex .BSESN was down 0.08% at 50,324.79.

India is dealing with a fresh surge in COVID-19 cases, with daily COVID-19 infections jumping by 28,903 on Wednesday, the highest increase since Dec. 13. lockdowns in certain states due to rising cases is a concern for the market, said Rahul Sharma, market strategist and head of research at Equity99 in Mumbai.

A rise in bond yields has also limited gains for Nifty and Sensex this month to about 3%, compared to a 6.6% jump in February.

"The RBI may have to do a fine balancing act to keep the bond yields at lower levels while managing the government's borrowing program," Sharma added.

The Nifty energy index .NIFTYENR was the top loser, shedding 1.57% as heavyweight Reliance Industries Ltd RELI.NS fell 1.2%.

The high-flying Nifty IT index .NIFTYIT was the only major sector trading in the black, rising 0.35%.

SBI (NS: SBI ) Cards and Payment Services Ltd SBIC.NS fell as much as 4.4%, after the Mint newspaper reported https:// that U.S. private equity firm Carlyle Group Inc CG.O will sell a stake worth up to 37.30 billion rupees ($514.18 million) in the Indian credit card distributor.

Investment company Aditya Birla Capital Ltd ADTB.NS gained as much as 5.1% after its board gave an in-principle approval to explore an initial public offering for its investment management joint venture with Canada's Sun Life Financial SLF.TO . = 72.5425 Indian rupees)

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