Indian shares pare gains as coronavirus cases surge past 21 mln

  • Reuters
Indian shares pare gains as coronavirus cases surge past 21 mln

By Chris Thomas

BENGALURU, May 6 (Reuters) - Indian shares trimmed early gains on Thursday as a record surge in domestic coronavirus infections fuelled worries that the second wave of the pandemic could derail a nascent recovery seen in Asia's third-largest economy.

The NSE Nifty 50 index .NSEI was up 0.06% at 14,626.85 by 0503 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex .BSESN dipped 0.06% to 48,649.57, after an early uptick led by metal stocks on strong steel prices and solid results from Tata Steel .

India reported more than 400,000 coronavirus infections over the last 24 hours, taking the total tally past 21 million, while deaths rose by a record 3,980, health ministry data showed. surge in infections has overwhelmed India's healthcare system, forced state lockdowns, and prompted several economists to cut projections, but the stock market is focused on corporate earnings amid abundant liquidity, analysts say.

"Although the news on the coronavirus front is still a concern, there is abundant liquidity which is keeping the momentum in markets alive, especially with increased participation from retail and HNI investors," said Anita Gandhi, director at Arihant Capital Markets, referring to high net-worth individuals.

Investors may wait to see when the second wave would peak and gauge its hit to the economy, V K Vijayakumar, chief investment strategist at Geojit Financial Services, said in a note.

"IT, pharma, metals and telecom are likely to remain resilient even under difficult times," he said.

Tata Steel TISC.NS jumped 5.5% after beating quarterly profit estimates, driving rival JSW Steel JSTL.NS more than 3% higher and pushing the Nifty Metal index .NIFTYMET up 2.7%. IRONORE/

Two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp HROM.NS climbed nearly 5% ahead of its quarterly results, while rival Bajaj Auto BAJA.NS rose 3%.

State-run lender IDBI Bank IDBI.NS surged nearly 15% after the government on Wednesday approved a stake sale.

Cipla Ltd CIPL.NS gained as much as 3.2% after India gave emergency use approval for a COVID-19 antibody drug cocktail developed by Roche ROG.S and Regeneron REGN.O for which Cipla is the local distribution partner.

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