By Chris Thomas
BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian shares fell on Monday as a jump in coronavirus cases across the world and at home stoked fears of renewed restrictions that could hit business activities, dimming hopes of a quick economic recovery.
The NSE Nifty 50 index <.NSEI> fell 1.07% to 10,272.4 by 0514 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex <.BSESN> was down 1% at 34,819.6.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> fell 0.6% on Monday morning, while Wall Street sharply retreated on Friday.
Cases in India jumped by 19,459 to 548,318 as of Monday morning, with the death toll rising to 16,475, according to latest federal health ministry data.
The global death toll reached half a million people on Sunday, according to a Reuters tally.
Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital Mumbai, was set to extend for a month the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the virus, Indian media reported.
“The economic reality is going to be on the downside, that’s a given. Liquidity is the only support for global markets and that is the only hinge on which the markets are moving,” said Mayuresh Joshi, head of equity research at William O’Neil & Co in India, adding that tensions with China following the recent border clashes were also a overhang on sentiment.
The Nifty 50 has recovered around 40% from a four-year low hit in mid-March as foreign investors poured in money. However, the index is still down 15% for the year, compared with a 7% drop for the MSCI Asia index <.MIAPJ0000PUS>.
Shares of Axis Bank Ltd <AXBK.NS> tumbled 5% to their lowest in over a week after S&P Global Ratings cut the private-sector lender’s rating to junk on expectations that a looming recession in India would hurt its asset quality and financial performance.
Conglomerate ITC Ltd <ITC.NS> jumped 4% after reporting a rise in quarterly profit. Gains in other consumer goods and pharmaceutical stocks kept the Nifty 50’s losses in check.
(Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)