Indian shares drop for fifth day as Fed anxiety grows

A man walks past the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai
A man walks past the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai, India October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

BENGALURU, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Indian shares ended in the red for a fifth straight session on Monday, with metals and IT stocks dragging the most, as investor worries ballooned over possibilities of a quicker rate hike from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index (.NSEI) dropped 2.66% to 17,149.1, while the S&P BSE Sensex (.BSESN) slid 2.62% to 57,491.51, both marking their worst day since Nov. 26.

The indexes fell as much as 3.5% earlier in the session, before settling at their lowest levels since late December. They shed more than 3% last week amid heavy foreign investor selling.

"With Indian markets closed on Wednesday, investors are likely positioning themselves for a hawkish Fed," said Amish Shah, head of research, BofA Securities India.

"Higher interest rates would mean the cost of equity assumption for valuing stocks goes up, and it could also lead to outflows from risky assets like emerging market equities to safer U.S. Treasury bonds."

Foreign investors are net sellers so far this month, having offloaded shares worth a net $1.18 billion.

The Fed at its meeting is expected to confirm it will soon start draining the massive pool of liquidity that has supercharged growth stocks in recent years.

Also weakening global markets on Monday was the prospect of a Russian attack on Ukraine.

In Mumbai, the Nifty Realty (.NIFTYREAL) and Nifty Metal (.NIFTYMET) indexes sank 5.9% and 5.2%, respectively.

The Nifty IT sub-index (.NIFTYIT) slid 3.4% and marked its sixth straight session of losses.

Food delivery platform Zomato (ZOMT.NS) tumbled 19.6%, while online retailer Nykaa (FSNE.NS) lost 13.1%, as analysts cited expensive valuations for the two firms that saw stellar market debuts last year.

Shares of oil-to-retail conglomerate Reliance Industries (RELI.NS) dropped 4%, despite the company reporting a better-than-expected jump in third-quarter profit on Friday.

Shares of JSW Steel (JSTL.NS) fell 6.7% after the company's quarterly net profit missed analysts' estimates.

Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Gaurav Dogra; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.

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