By Chandini Monnappa
BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian shares fell over 1% on Friday, tracking weak global markets, after U.S. data underscored the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic and reports that an experimental drug to treat COVID 19 showed inconclusive results.
The NSE Nifty 50 index fell 1.53% to 9,166.20 by 0356 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was down 1.59% at 31,359.96.
Asian shares and U.S. stock futures fell on Friday following reports that Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral drug remdesivier had failed to help severely ill COVID-19 patients in its first clinical trial.
U.S. business activity plumbed record lows in April, mirroring dire figures from Europe and Asia as strict stay-at-home orders crushed production, supply chains and consumer spending, a survey showed.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.4% and U.S. stock futures, the S&P 500 e-minis, slipped 0.72%.
“Global cues are negative, prospects of a vaccine have been dampened and there are concerns over the rising number of cases,” said Siddhartha Khemka, head of retail research at Motilal Oswal Securities.
In Mumbai, financial stocks contributed to more than half the losses on the index, with the NSE Bank index slipping nearly 3% in early trade.
Private-sector lenders ICICI Bank Ltd and Indusind Bank Ltd slid over 4% each and were among the top losers on the Nifty 50 index.
India has extended the biggest lockdown in the world to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected over 23,000 and killed 718, according to government data.
The economy is likely to suffer its worst quarter since the mid-1990s due to the lockdown in the three months ending in June, according to a Reuters poll, which predicted a mild and gradual recovery.
Shares of real estate firm Oberoi Realty Ltd tumbled over 4%, pushing the Nifty Realty index over 3% lower.
Britannia Industries Ltd and Bharti Infratel Ltd were among the gainers.
Shares of Britannia rose over 3% after the company declared an interim dividend of 35 rupees per share on Thursday, while Infratel shares jumped over 2% after it reported a strong set of quarterly numbers.
(Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)