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Indian shares tumble as virus worries return; financials slide

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares closed lower on Monday as a record surge in daily coronavirus cases spurred fresh restrictions in Mumbai and other regions, sparking worries about the pace of the country’s economic recovery.

FILE PHOTO: A broker reacts while trading at his computer terminal at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai, India, February 1, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File Photo

Total cases of COVID-19 in India jumped by more than 100,000 to surpass 12.5 million on Monday. Maharashtra state, home to the financial capital of Mumbai, imposed stringent curbs including a complete lockdown on weekends.

The NSE Nifty 50 index ended 1.54% lower at 14,637.80, while the S&P BSE Sensex was down 1.74% at 49,159.32.

Financial stocks led the decline. Private-sector lenders HDFC Bank, HDFC, and ICICI Bank were the biggest drags on the Nifty 50, falling between 2.5% and 3.8%.

Bajaj Finance, IndusInd Bank and State Bank of India were the top percentage decliners on the Nifty 50, falling between 4.5% and 5.7%.

The software services index — among the best performers during most of the pandemic in 2020 — was one of two sectors to clock gains on Monday. The index climbed 2%, with all its 10 components ending higher.

Metals stocks closed 0.89% higher.

The fresh restrictions in Maharashtra, home to Bollywood, also weighed on shares of cinema operators. PVR Ltd and Inox Leisure Ltd each closed more than 4% lower.

Travel-related stocks, including airlines, also ended sharply lower.

Separately, investors await the outcome of the central bank’s monetary policy committee meeting on Wednesday.

Globally, stocks gained after data showed a surge in U.S. employment.

Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V

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