Indian shares break recent rally to settle lower ahead of RBI policy

By Bharath Rajeswaran

BENGALURU (Reuters) -India’s benchmark indexes fell on Thursday after rallying for seven consecutive sessions, as investors took a breather a day before the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) monetary policy decision.

The NSE Nifty 50 index shed 0.17% to 20.901.15, while the S&P BSE Sensex declined 0.19% to 69,521.69. Consumer stocks led the fall on the benchmark indexes, down 0.90%.

The Nifty 50 rose 5.77% in the last seven sessions and hit record high levels. The index was at its most overbought level in more than two years at market close on Wednesday.

“While the overall macroeconomic outlook, liquidity, remains favourable for Indian shares, we expect the benchmark Nifty 50 to trade in a narrow range after the recent sharp rally,” said Narendra Solanki, head of fundamental research of investment services at Anand Rathi Shares and Stock Brokers.

Analysts expect consolidation around the 21,000 levels, ahead of the Reserve Bank of India’s monetary policy decision on Friday, where the central bank is expected to hold rates at 6.50% for a fifth consecutive meeting.

Hindustan Unilever fell about 2% after several brokerages flagged concerns over near-term earnings outlook.

Paytm tumbled 18.66% on the company’s plan to curtail low-value personal loans after RBI tightened consumer lending rules.

Media companies TV18 Broadcast and Network18 Media & Investments lost about 7% and 8%, respectively after announcing a $1.2 billion merger deal. The two stocks had surged 33.65% and 18.76%, respectively, in the previous six sessions.

State-run IRCON International lost 6.51% after the engineering and construction company said Indian government will sell upto 8% stake over the week, at a discount of 10.5% to Wednesday’s close.

On the other hand, SpiceJet climbed 20% after reports said that the domestic airline will likely raise 10 billion rupees ($120 million) to 12 billion rupees through the issue of shares.

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Eileen Soreng, Janane Venkatraman and Nivedita Bhattacharjee)