Indian shares snap three-day winning streak on rate jitters

Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in Mumbai
A general view of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), after Sensex surpassed the 50,000 level for the first time, in Mumbai, India, January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

BENGALURU, March 9 (Reuters) - Indian shares posted their biggest one-day drop in over two weeks on Thursday, snapping a three-session winning streak, as concerns of a prolonged high-interest rate regime weighed on sentiment.

The Nifty 50 index (.NSEI) closed 0.93% lower at 17,589.60, while the S&P BSE Sensex (.BSESN) ended down 0.90% at 59,806.28, notching their worst day since Feb. 22.

The domestic equities finally gave in to the pressure of worries that the Federal Reserve and other major central banks will continue to raise rates higher and for longer.

Twelve of the 13 major sectoral indexes declined, with the heavyweight financials (.NIFTYFIN) and information technology (IT) (.NIFTYIT) indexes losing 0.75% and 1.08%, respectively.

IT stocks, in particular, are sensitive to rate hikes in the United States and Europe where a majority of their clients are based.

Analysts expect the Nifty 50 to trade in a narrow range until the Fed's policy decision on March 22, at which it is expected to raise rates by 50 basis points.

"A 50 bps rate hike in the next Fed meeting is a given. With further rate hikes, debt will become more attractive," said G Chokkalingam, founder and chief investment officer at Equinomics Research.

"Investors will wait for the monsoon forecast, rate hike trajectory, revival in domestic corporate earnings and growth figures before they turn definitively turn positive on the Indian markets."

Meanwhile, the metal index (.NIFTYMET) was the only bright spot, advancing 0.06% on hopes that the reopening of the Chinese economy would boost demand.

Tata Steel (TISC.NS), Hindalco (HALC.NS) and JSW Steel (JSTL.NS) were among the top gainers in the Nifty 50.

They were joined by Bharti Airtel, which rose 0.78% after brokerage CLSA projected a 3% increase in average revenue per user (ARPU) due to a 57% hike in its entry-level tariff plans.

Reliance Industries (RELI.NS) led the Nifty 50 losers with a drop of 2.4% on multiple block deals. ($1 = 81.9910 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; editing by Eileen Soreng, Sonia Cheema and Savio D'Souza

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