Indian shares flat as consumer goods losses offset gains in banks

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.01% to 14,407.7 by 0512 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex dipped 0.03% to 47,061.2

  
The Bombay Stock Exchange building is seen from a facade in Mumbai, India, May 16, 2018. Image used for illustrative purpose.

The Bombay Stock Exchange building is seen from a facade in Mumbai, India, May 16, 2018. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

BENGALURU - Indian shares were little changed on Friday as gains in public bank stocks were pared by losses among consumer goods companies, while the country reported another record increase in its daily COVID-19 cases.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.01% to 14,407.7 by 0512 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex dipped 0.03% to 47,061.2.

Total cases of the novel coronavirus in India rose by another record of 332,730, while a record 2,263 people had died in the last 24 hours, as hospitals struggled to arrange oxygen supplies and intensive care beds for patients.

"As the rise in cases spreads from major cities to Tier-2 and Tier-3 towns, near-lockdown seems to be the only solution... there is uncertainty in the market surrounding the impact of the larger second wave on future earnings," said S Krishnakumar, an independent market analyst covering Indian equities.

Meanwhile, credit rating agency Fitch forecast a negative outlook for India, citing deterioration in the country's "public finance metrics", and said surging infections may delay a recovery in its GDP. 

Consumer goods stocks fell 0.5%, with heavyweight Hindustan Unilever leading the losses on the benchmark index.

IT stocks slid 0.2%, with Infosys Ltd losing 0.9%.

State-owned banks, however, rose more than 1% to lead the gains among sectors, while private banks were up 0.3%.

The Reserve Bank of India on Thursday relaxed restrictions surrounding the payment of dividends by banks, allowing commercial banks to pay dividends of up to 50% from profits.

Metal stocks added more than 1%, with Tata Steel rising 1.1%

(Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V) ((Soumyajit.Saha@thomsonreuters.com;))

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