Indian shares gave up early gains to settle lower on Friday, dragged down by energy stocks, a day ahead of the federal budget that comes amid the country’s worst economic slowdown in a decade, reports Reuters. The NSE Nifty 50 index ended 0.61% lower at 11,962.12, while the S&P BSE Sensex closed 0.47% weaker at 40,723.49. The Nifty on Friday closed below the 12,000 level for the first time since Dec. 12, ending the month 1.70% lower.
Markets have been volatile ahead of the 2020/2021 budget on Feb. 1, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is expected to raise spending on infrastructure and cut some personal tax, to spur consumer demand and investment, government sources and economists have said. Indian stock markets will be open for trading on Saturday on account of the budget, but debt and forex markets will remain shut.
Record profit from India’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) failed to lift sentiment as energy stocks fell sharply, led by a 2.2% drop in Reliance Industries Ltd , the country’s biggest company by market value. The Nifty energy index shed 2.66%, marking its worst day since early September, as oil prices were set for a fourth consecutive weekly loss on Friday.
Shares in SBI ended 2.5% firmer, while those in private-sector lender Kotak Mahindra Bank gained 3.9% after the central bank eased rules around the shareholding of its billionaire-founder. (Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)