By Chandini Monnappa
BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian stocks traded modestly higher on Tuesday, as gains from a rally in financials helped cap losses in energy shares following a fresh rout in oil prices.
The NSE Nifty 50 index was up 0.17% at 9,299.30 by 0545 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was 0.19% higher at 31,798.22.
Financials extended gains for a second straight session on Tuesday, with support from a nearly 14% jump in shares of private-sector lender Indusind Bank Ltd following its quarterly results.
“Financials are continuing to hold gains after Monday’s RBI support. We are tensed about volatile commodity prices, the fall in oil could cascade into other segments,” said Anand James, chief market strategist at Geojit Financial Services in Kochi.
The Reserve Bank of India said on Monday it would open a special liquidity facility for mutual funds to ease liquidity strain.
The Nifty Banking Index climbed as much as 2.27% on Tuesday, while the Nifty Private Bank Index jumped 2.7%.
The Nifty Energy index fell as much as 1.14%, with shares of Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd sliding nearly 2%.
The fall in oil prices also pushed Asian shares and U.S. stock futures into the red on Tuesday, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipping 0.3%.
Oil prices declined sharply over worries about limited capacity to store crude worldwide and expectations that fuel demand may recover slowly in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, expectations are building that the country will ease the world’s biggest lockdown following similar lifting of restrictions in Italy, New Zealand and some U.S. states.
Prime Minister Narendra on Monday held talks with the chief ministers of the country’s 28 states to decide on what restrictions should be kept in place.
Total cases of the infections rose to 29,434 as on Tuesday morning in India, including over 900 deaths.
In Mumbai trading, shares of index heavyweight Reliance Industries slipped as much as 2.63% after the conglomerate said it would consider a rights issue.
“Reliance’s rights issue is a surprise, there will be some dilution, but it is difficult to gauge at this point in time how much the stock will fall because the quantum is not known,” said Naveen Kulkarni, chief investment officer, Axis Securities.
(Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Chris Thomas; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)