Indian shares tread water as rate worries dent risk appetite

By Sethuraman N R

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian benchmark Nifty traded in a narrow range on Tuesday as traders held off making big bets amid continued selling by foreign investors, while domestic institutional buying offered some cushion.

The Nifty 50 ended down mostly unchanged at 19,664.70 points, while the S&P BSE Sensex dropped 0.1% to 65,945.47 points.

The Nifty saw a 62-point intraday move, its narrowest range in three weeks.

Both the benchmarks have fallen about 2.5% in the past week after the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled last week that it was likely not done rising rates.

“The foreign investor selling due to the Fed outcome is being offset by buying from domestic institutions and high net worth individuals as they are still bullish on the India story,” said Deepak Jasani, head of retail research, HDFC Securities.

“Markets are not going to fall sharply unless there is an unexpected event over the next couple of months. The upside also looks limited and we may not go beyond the recent highs,” Jasani said.

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have been net sellers so far this month, offloading shares worth $1.36 billion as of Sept. 22 after pouring in over $15 billion into Indian equities this year.

On Monday, FIIs sold 23.33 billion rupees ($280.24 million)worth of shares, while domestic investors bought 15.79 billion rupees worth of shares, as per provisional exchange data.

The more domestically focused small-caps were up 0.6%, while mid-caps fell 0.2%.

IT stocks remained weak, falling 0.5% on worries over demand uncertainties due to a higher interest rate environment in the U.S., a key market for Indian IT companies.

Among individual stocks, Eicher Motors rose 3.7% after Jefferies raised its target price to 4,150 rupees.

($1 = 83.2510 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Sethuraman NR in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman)