Indian shares surrender gains as Cipla tumbles, IT rally ebbs

By Bharath Rajeswaran

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian blue-chip indexes shed early gains to end flat on Thursday, as IT stocks pulled back after a recent rally and as Cipla slumped after the U.S. health regulator’s warning letter.

The NSE Nifty 50 index dipped 0.05% to end at 19,802 points and the S&P BSE Sensex settled 0.01% lower at 66,017.81. Both had risen about 0.3% during the session.

Cipla sank nearly 8% in its worst day in nearly eight years after the U.S. drug regulator published its warning letter on the drugmaker’s manufacturing violations at a plant.

Cipla was the top Nifty loser and also pulled pharma stocks down 1.57% to snap a six-session rally.

IT stocks lost 0.59%. They had gained 6.30% since mid-November when soft U.S. inflation data spurred bets that the Federal Reserve may be done raising interest rates.

On the flip side, two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp rose 4.52%, extending its post-earnings rally to the ninth session. It was the top Nifty gainer and drove auto stocks to a fresh record high.

The more domestically focussed small-caps added 0.70%, while mid-caps closed flat.

“The near-term outlook for domestic equities remains positive, but the small- and mid-cap rally seems driven by speculation and on retail inflows,” said Samrat Dasgupta, CEO of Esquire Capital Investment Advisors.

Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) jumped nearly 7% after Reuters reported that the government planned to ask state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp to consider launching a rights issue to help fund HPCL’s green projects.

Newly listed Honasa Consumer, the parent of Mamaearth cosmetics, surged 20% after reporting its quarterly profit nearly doubled.

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)