Indian shares log second weekly gain on energy stocks boost

By Bharath Rajeswaran

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian shares rose for a second consecutive week on Friday, led by energy stocks as oil prices fell, even as hawkish U.S. Federal Reserve remarks reignited rate worries and dragged Asian peers.

The NSE Nifty 50 index added 1.01% for the week, while S&P BSE Sensex gained 0.84%.

The more domestically-focussed small- and mid-caps logged 3.09% and 2.89% weekly gains, respectively, posting their best week in two months amid persistent retail inflows.

Oil & gas, the third heaviest sector in the Nifty 50, rose 2.53% for the week as crude oil prices slipped to near $80 per barrel.

Softer oil prices is positive for importers of the commodity like India as well as its oil marketing companies. Bharat Petroleum Corp jumped 6.24% and was among the top weekly gainers on the benchmark index.

Pharma stocks logged 4.26% weekly gain, supported by post-earnings rally in key constituents like Lupin and Aurobindo Pharma.

The Nifty 50 closed 0.15% higher at 19,425.35 on Friday, while the Sensex rose 0.11% to 64,904.68.

Information technology (IT) companies, which earn a significant share of revenue from the U.S., fell 0.26% after Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that the central bank was not confident that interest rates are high enough to tame inflation.

“Even if there is some bad news, domestic markets are absorbing them and moving higher,” said Atul Suri, chief executive of Marathon Trends PMS, adding that “any knee-jerk reaction to Powell’s comments will last only for a few sessions”.

“Indian markets are powered predominantly by the domestic investor, who is getting more accepting of equities as an asset class,” Suri added.

Among individual stocks, Hero MotoCorp shed 2.16% and was the top Nifty 50 loser, after India’s Enforcement Directorate seized property worth 249.5 million rupees ($3 million) belonging to the company’s Chairman Pawan Munjal in relation to a money laundering probe.

($1 = 83.3840 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema and Sohini Goswami)