Indian shares fall on hawkish Fed views; RBI decision in focus

A man walks out of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai, India, February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Hemanshi Kamani

BENGALURU, April 7 (Reuters) - Indian shares fell for a third straight session on Thursday as hawkish signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve to tackle surging inflation slammed investor sentiment in the run-up to a monetary policy decision at home.

The NSE Nifty 50 index (.NSEI) declined 0.94% to 17,639.55, and the S&P BSE Sensex (.BSESN) fell 0.97% to 59,034.95.

Minutes of the Fed's March meeting released on Wednesday showed deepening concern among policymakers that inflation had broadened through the economy and need for tighter monetary policy. read more

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"The Fed minutes are impacting global markets and bond yields are rising. The Russia-Ukraine issue is not fully settled. Globally, costs are rising," said Anita Gandhi, a whole-time director at Arihant Capital Markets.

Focus domestically is on the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) policy stance as inflation, especially in food, has been accelerated by the Ukraine conflict, Gandhi said.

Despite the price pressures, the central bank is on Friday expected to delay its first interest rate hike by at least four months to August at the earliest, according to a Reuters poll of economists. read more

Inflation is forecast to remain high above the RBI's 4% medium-term target and economists in the Reuters poll said the central bank must now start worrying about the trend, especially with global peers already rising rates to counter the price surge. read more

The Nifty energy index (.NIFTYENR) fell 1.7% and the IT index (.NIFTYIT) dropped 1.3% to be among the top losers in sectoral indexes.

HDFC Bank (HDBK.NS) and Housing Development Finance Corp (HDFC.NS) were among the top losers in the blue-chip Nifty, falling 2.9% and 2.2%, respectively. Both the stocks have in the past three sessions erased all the gains made on Monday after an announcement on their merger.

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Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni

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