Indian shares snap rally to record highs as financials weigh

By Bharath Rajeswaran

BENGALURU (Reuters) -India’s Nifty 50 and Sensex fell on Monday after rallying to record highs for most of this month as high-weightage banks took a breather following a recent rise.

The benchmark NSE Nifty 50 index lost 0.18% to 21,418.65 points, while the S&P BSE Sensex settled 0.24% lower at 71,315.09.

Banks and financials lost 0.57% and 0.39%, respectively, after rising about 2% each in the last two sessions. Financial services is the heaviest sector in the Nifty 50 index.

ICICI Bank and IndusInd Bank dropped 1.5% and 1%, respectively, and led the losses in the Nifty 50.

Information technology stocks, the second-heaviest sectoral index, shed 0.27%. It snapped a two-session rally, where the index rose about 8%.

IT companies, which earn a significant share of their revenue from the U.S., jumped last week after the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy commentary raised hopes of a rate cut in the first half of 2024.

The more domestically-focussed small- and mid-caps gained 0.22% and 0.56%, respectively, outperforming the blue-chips.

“Large-caps offer better risk-reward balance given more reasonable valuations compared to lofty valuations of most small- and mid-cap stocks,” said analysts at Kotak Securities.

Small- and mid-caps have added 54% and 45% in 2023 so far, compared to an 18.30% rise in the Nifty 50 index.

The Nifty and Sensex have gained about 6.5% each so far this month and are set for their best monthly performance in 2023, aided by foreign inflows, strong macroeconomic data, moderation in crude oil prices and easing global interest rate outlook.

India’s sugar companies like Dwarikesh Sugar, Shree Renuka Sugars and Balrampur Chini Mills jumped between 2% and 5.5% on the government’s plan to allow sugar mills to dilute up to 1.7 million metric tonnes of sugar for ethanol production.

Zydus Lifesciences surged 5.37% to hit an all-time high after receiving the U.S. drug regulator’s approval for key drugs.

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Varun H K and Sonia Cheema)