Indian shares edge up as fears of global banking contagion ebb

FILE PHOTO: Gardeners work outside the National Stock Exchange building in Mumbai
Gardeners work outside the National Stock Exchange (NSE) building in Mumbai, India, August 16, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

BENGALURU, March 27 (Reuters) - Indian shares edged up on Monday, snapping two days of losses, as global authorities took steps to contain the banking turmoil, helping dispel some of the contagion fears.

The Nifty 50 index (.NSEI) closed 0.24% higher at 16,985.70, and the S&P BSE Sensex (.BSESN) rose 0.22% to 57,653.86. The broader Asian equity indexes were largely subdued.

The benchmarks rose nearly 1% in intraday trade before trimming gains in a volatile session. The volatility index (.NIFVIX) rose to an intraday high of 16.09 before closing at 15.45, a one-week high.

Five of the 13 major sectoral indexes advanced, with Nifty Pharma (.NIPHARM) leading gains with a 1% increase.

Meanwhile, news of First Citizens BancShares agreeing to buy the collapsed Silicon Valley Bank, and the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank saying they are keeping a close watch on the impact of banking stress lent an uneasy calm to the markets.

Domestically, a media report said that India's state-run lenders will submit a detailed scenario-mapped plan of various risks to the government within two weeks.

Financials (.NIFTYFIN) and banks (.NSEBANK) were little changed on Monday. Indian lenders are expected to remain resilient in the wake of the global turmoil, according to analysts.

"Expect some stability in Indian markets after swift action by regulators on banking crisis so far in the West," said Anita Gandhi, director at Arihant Capital Markets.

"The persistent selling by foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) is a dampener on sentiment, though," she added.

Since the failure of SVB on March 9, FPIs have offloaded Indian equities in ten out of the 11 sessions.

Among individual stocks, Reliance Industries (RELI.NS) rose over 1.5% after Kotak Institutional Equities called the stock a "compelling" buy.

Shares of Grasim (GRAS.NS) gained nearly 2% after leasing 220 acres of land from Century Textiles for 2.55 billion rupees. The company plans to set up manufacturing facilities on the land.

Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; editing by Eileen Soreng and Varun H K

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