Indian shares fall as COVID-19 count adds to weak sentiment; eyes on Vodafone Idea

BENGALURU, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Indian shares edged lower on Monday as the country became the second-worst hit with coronavirus cases and a continued selloff in Wall Street made investors jittery, while they awaited an announcement from Vodafone Idea Ltd later in the day.

Coronavirus infections surged past 4.2 million, making India overtake Brazil to be the country with the second-highest number of cases.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index was down 0.21% at 11,309.60, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.19% to 38,284.65 as of 0459 GMT.

Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.3% and China’s blue-chip index slipped 0.2% on concerns of high valuations after Wall Street closed lower on Friday as a sell-off continued in technology stocks.

“As far as the Indian economy is concerned, we are seeing mixed signals as of now ... global sentiment is negative, institutional investors have started taking profits,” said Anita Gandhi, director at Arihant Capital Markets.

“For work to resume and for normalcy to come, ultimately the number of (coronavirus) cases need to come in control,” Gandhi added.

Vodafone Idea rose as much as 10%. The debt-laden company has scheduled a media announcement at 0630 GMT later in the day.

On Friday, the telecom service provider said it would raise up to 250 billion rupees ($3.41 billion) in fresh funds, as it tries to pay off hefty dues it owes to the government.

The Nifty energy index and the Nifty pharma index fell 0.46% and 0.56% respectively.

India’s most valuable bank HDFC was the top drag on the Nifty, falling as much as 1.6%, while telecom infrastructure company Bharti Infratel Ltd rose as much as 5.2%. (Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)