Indian shares extend losses for fifth straight week; Powell’s speech eyed

By Bharath Rajeswaran and Manvi Pant

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian shares closed lower on Friday and extended losses for a fifth straight week, dragged by broad sectoral losses after the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) policy meeting minutes flagged near-term inflation risks.

Investors now await U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech later in the day.

The Nifty 50 index fell 0.62% at 19,265.80, while the S&P BSE Sensex shed 0.56% to 64,886.51.

The Nifty and Sensex lost 0.23% and 0.10%, respectively, for the week. The benchmarks had a similar five-week bear run in April-May 2022.

India’s stock market is due a bit of a breather and the base case is for consolidation to continue further, wrote Chris Wood, the global head of equity strategy at Jefferies in his weekly newsletter – GREED & fear.

All 13 major sectoral indexes declined, with financial services and IT losing 0.34% and 0.64%, respectively.

Oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries lost 0.46% on Friday, and extended weekly losses to 3.46%, its worst week in more than five months.

The slide in domestic equities on Friday came after the minutes of the RBI’s latest policy meeting flagged near-term risks to inflation due to a recent spike in food prices and a liquidity overhang in the banking system.

Investors now await Federal Reserve Chair Powell’s speech at an annual gathering of global central bankers, due later on Friday, for cues into the U.S. central bank’s rate trajectory. Asian markets edged lower. [MKTS/GLOB]

“Even if the market corrects in the near-term, equity return over the next 12 months is likely to remain healthy,” said analysts at Anand Rathi.

Moody’s Investor Service reiterated the positive outlook, saying that falling raw material costs, steady demand and sustained government spending on infrastructure would support Indian companies’ earnings.

Among individual stocks, Bajaj Finance and Bajaj Finserv gained 1.04% and 2.40%, respectively, after global brokerage Nomura reiterated its positive view on the two.

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran and Manvi Pant in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman and Varun H K)