IT, metals drag Indian shares lower ahead of Fed policy minutes

By Bharath Rajeswaran

BENGALURU (Reuters) -India’s benchmark indexes declined on Wednesday, dragged down by information technology and metal stocks, as global markets slid amid fading optimism about early U.S. interest rate cuts ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve minutes.

The NSE Nifty 50 index fell 0.69% to 21,517.35, while the S&P BSE Sensex shed 0.75% to 71,356.60.

“Markets are getting a reality check after the sharp rally in the last two months on falling U.S. yields, which led to the return of foreign buying,” said Aishvarya Dadheech, founder and chief investment officer at Fident Asset Management.

“The results season is crucial for the rally to continue, and till then, the benchmark will likely see further selling pressure,” Dadheech added.

IT, the second-heaviest sectoral index, fell 2.52%, its biggest intraday percentage drop since July 21, 2023. Analysts are bearish on the sector compared to others, ahead of quarterly results next week.

LTIMindtree, Wipro and Infosys were among the top Nifty 50 losers.

“IT will be definitely under pressure because we have not seen any fundamental positive change in the client budget and the read-through from Accenture’s results was not optimistic,” said Samrat Dasgupta, CEO at Esquire Capital Investment Advisors.

The drop in IT companies, which earn a major chunk of revenue from the United States, also comes amid doubts about early U.S. rate cuts, ahead of Fed minutes later in the day.

Asian shares fell 1% for the second straight session. [MKTS/GLOB]

The metal index shed 1.81% on a firm U.S. dollar and demand concerns in top consumer China. [MET/L]

Among individual stocks, Adani Group stocks climbed between 0.5% and 11.5% after India’s Supreme Court ordered the market regulator to complete its probe into the group’s stocks within three months.

The court also rejected a request to transfer the investigation to an independent agency.

Bajaj Auto jumped 4.82% on a plan to consider buyback of shares on Jan. 8.

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza, Sonia Cheema and Dhanya Ann Thoppil)