Indian shares unchanged as financials offset gains in energy

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian shares were little changed on Wednesday, as gains in energy and consumer discretionary stocks were countered by losses in financials and materials.

FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai, India, January 31, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File Photo

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index was up 0.07% at 15218.05 by 0403 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was 0.08% higher at 50,686.31.

Reliance Industries Ltd, down nearly 2% this week up to the stock’s closing price on Tuesday, rose 0.38%, while Hindustan Unilever Ltd was up 0.58%, after falling for five sessions out of the last eight.

Tata Steel Ltd and HDFC Bank Ltd were among the top drags to the index, losing 0.93% and 2.92%, respectively.

Investors’ risk appetite has improved recently due to a steady decline in daily COVID-19 cases in India. On Tuesday, the country reported its lowest daily rise of cases in more than a month.

The total tally of infections has now crossed 27 million, with deaths rising by 4,157 in the last 24 hours, according to the health ministry’s data released on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Indian economy is likely to have grown 0.6%-2.1% in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2020-21, better than the government’s prediction of a contraction, Business Standard reported, citing independent economists and rating agencies it surveyed.

However, for the entire FY21, they see gross domestic product contracting 7%-8%, the report said.

Nifty component Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd is set to report its March-quarter earnings later in the day.

Indian foreign exchange and bond markets are closed for a holiday.

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