India Stocks Drop for Second Day, Edge Away from Key 50,000 Mark
Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk past the Bombay Stock Exchange building in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

India Stocks Drop for Second Day, Edge Away from Key 50,000 Mark

India’s equity benchmark fell in line with its regional peers on Monday, extending Friday’s decline. The drop moved the S&P BSE Sensex further away from the key 50,000 level it was looking to breach last week.

The benchmark slid 1%, closing at 48,564.27, with the NSE Nifty 50 Index posting a similar retreat.

One of the world’s largest inoculation drives kicked off on Saturday as India vaccinated 224,301 people in an effort to stem the coronavirus outbreak. About 10.6 million people have been infected with the disease in India in the world’s second-worst outbreak.

“Like global markets, India is overbought and waiting for a negative trigger,” said Deepak Jasani, head of retail research at HDFC Securities Ltd. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was down 0.4% as the week began amid weakened risk appetite.

Foreign investors bought $2.4 billion worth of Indian stocks in the first two weeks of this month after investing the most since 2012 last year. They have been behind the surge in the country’s key stock gauges to successive new highs in recent weeks.

“Markets look poised for a smaller correction, as the narrative around Covid-19 globally suggests that the problem might still not be behind us,” said Nikhil Kamath, chief investment officer at True Beacon, an India-based hedge fund. “A second wave of lockdowns following the trend of what’s happening globally is a possibility.”

All five of the Nifty 50 companies to have announced results so far have beaten estimates. HDFC Bank Ltd. was among the top gainers on the Sensex, after India’s largest private lender by assets on Saturday reported strong loan growth and a drop in bad loans for its December-ending quarter.

The Numbers

  • 17 out of 19 sector indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. slipped, led by a gauge of metal companies
  • Infosys Ltd. contributed the most to the Sensex decline, and decreased 2.5%, while Oil and Natural Gas Corp. had the largest drop, falling 4.6%
  • Reliance Industries Ltd. was the biggest advancer on the Sensex, climbing 2.4% after Mint reported that the company aims to embed JioMart in Whatsapp in the next six months

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