June 29, 2020 / 10:33 AM / 8 days ago

Financial, energy stocks drag Indian shares as virus spread weighs

BENGALURU, June 29 (Reuters) - Indian shares closed lower on Monday, dragged by financial and energy stocks, as a jump in coronavirus cases at home and around the world stoked fears of renewed restrictions, dimming hopes of a quick economic recovery.

The NSE Nifty 50 index closed 0.68% lower at 10,312.4, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was down 0.6% at 34,961.52, after sliding as much as 1.5% earlier in the session.

Global equities were also under pressure, with MSCI’s world shares index slipping to its lowest since June 15 and European shares opening slightly lower.

Coronavirus cases in India jumped to 548,318 as of Monday, with the death toll at 16,475, according to federal health ministry data. The global death toll reached half a million people on Sunday, according to a Reuters tally.

Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital Mumbai and the worst hit state by the outbreak so far, extended its lockdown to July 31.

“The economic reality is going to be on the downside, that’s a given. Liquidity is the only support for global markets and that is the only hinge on which the markets are moving,” said Mayuresh Joshi, head of equity research at William O’Neil & Co in India, adding that tensions with China following the recent border clashes were also denting the sentiment.

The Nifty 50 has recovered around 40% from a four-year low hit in mid-March, as foreign inflows returned to the market. But the index is still down 15% for the year, compared with a 7% drop for the MSCI Asia index.

Shadow bank Bajaj Finance Ltd and private-sector lender Axis Bank Ltd tumbled 1.6% and 4.7%, respectively, after S&P Global Ratings cut their ratings to junk, while Coal India slid 5.1% as quarterly profit slumped.

HDFC Bank Ltd closed 1.9% higher, helping check broader losses. (Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Rashmi Aich)

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