Indian shares inch towards record highs ahead of Powell’s testimony

By Bharath Rajeswaran

BENGALURU (Reuters) -India’s Nifty 50 and Sensex stock indexes reversed losses in the final hour of the trading session on Tuesday, powered by broad-based gains across sectors ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s congressional testimony.

The blue-chip Nifty index closed 0.33% higher at 18,816.70, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.25% at 63,327.70. Both the benchmarks are less than 0.5% away from all-time highs.

Eleven of the 13 major sectoral indexes logged gains, with high weightage financials and information technology adding 0.40% and 0.78%, respectively.

Broader indexes outperformed their larger peers with the midcaps rising 0.49% to close at a record high. The smallcaps gained 0.52% to a new 52-week high.

“Multiple factors such as mounting Chinese growth fears, anxiety ahead of Powell’s testimony and delayed monsoon have sparked caution,” said Prashanth Tapse, senior vice president for research at Mehta Equities.

The benchmark Nifty 50 came within 10 points of all-time highs on Monday, only to witness selling pressure near record levels.

Powell is scheduled to deliver congressional testimonies on monetary policy on Wednesday and Thursday. Traders are pricing in a nearly 75% chance of a 25-basis point rate hike by the Fed at its July meeting after a pause in June. [FEDWATCH]

Among individual stocks, HDFC Asset Management Company advanced over 11% after UK’s abrdn plc sold its entire 10.2% stake in the company.

On the other hand, IIFL Securities lost nearly 17% after India’s market regulator banned its stockbroking unit from onboarding any new client for two years, citing alleged misuse of client funds.

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema, Varun H K, Sohini Goswami and Dhanya Ann Thoppil)