India shares post first fall in four days tracking global equity sell-off
MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- India shares snapped three days of gains on Thursday tracking a sell-off in global equities on uncertainty over U.S. President Donald Trump's ability to push through his economic agenda amid allegations of interference in a federal investigation.
The benchmark BSE Sensex index declined 0.7%, or 223.98 points, to 30,434.79, its biggest fall in almost two weeks. The broader NSE Nifty 50 index closed 1% lower, or 96.30 points, to 9,429.45, marking its largest-single session decline since December. Both the indices had closed at record highs consecutively for the last three days.
"The markets were looking for some excuse to correct, and the sharp fall in the U.S. markets overnight seemed a good enough reason to take some profits off the table," said Krish Subramanyam, Co-Head Equity Advisory at Altamount Capital.
The Nifty index could slip further before the monthly derivatives expiry of next week, Subramanyam said.
Regional markets fell after the U.S. indices recorded their worst single-session loss since September 2016 amid growing uncertainty over the future of Trump's presidency and his ability to implement his economic agenda following reports about his attempts to interfere with a federal investigation.
According to a New York Times report, Trump had allegedly asked former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey to discontinue investigations into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The report comes only a week after Trump's abrupt dismissal of Comey.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Justice Department appointed former FBI chief Robert Mueller as a special counsel to investigate the possibility of Russian involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and likely involvement between Trump's campaign and Moscow.
China's Shanghai Composite index declined 0.5% and Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 1.3%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended down 0.6% while South Korea's Kospi index ended 0.3% lower.
Twenty-three of the 30 Sensex constituents ended higher, while overall declining issues beat advancing ones 2,059 to 687 and 164 stocks were unchanged.
United Breweries, makers of Kingfisher beer, fell 2.7% to 791.85 rupees. Late Wednesday, the company reported an 87% on-year decline in net profit for January-March.
Consumer goods maker Hindustan Unilever ended 1.9% lower at 987.40 rupees. The stock had risen to a record in opening trade before reversing its course. After market hours on Wednesday, the company reported a better-than-expected 6.2% on-year increase in fourth quarter profit.
Bajaj Auto ended 1.9% lower at 2,973.85 rupees. The two-wheeler manufacturer reported a 15.5% on-year fall in quarterly net profit.
Ahead of earnings, State Bank of India, the country's biggest lender by assets, fell 1.5% to 302.95 rupees, while smaller peer Bank of Baroda, a constituent of the Nifty, fell 2.3% to 187.75 rupees.
Information technology stocks bucked the broader market trend with the sector index climbing 1.2%, as a sharp fall in the Indian rupee against the dollar aided the export-driven sector. The local currency was on course to record its biggest single-day fall in nearly 21 months against the U.S. currency on Thursday.
Infosys rose 1% to 961.70 rupees, while Tata Consultancy Services, India's largest software services exporter, gained 3.4% to close at 2,534.10 rupees. Smaller rival Wipro ended 3.5% higher at 523.60 rupees.
--Dhanya Ann Thoppil