Indian stocks stagnate, private sector lenders lag

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BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian stocks were little changed on Friday, with losses from high-profile private-sector lenders ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank offsetting gains from the heavyweight Reliance Industries index.

A bird flies over the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai, India on January 31, 2020. REUTERS / Francis Mascarenhas / File Photo

The NSE Nifty 50 Index was down 0.01% at 15,117.20 04:44 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex was down 0.06% at 51,291.93. Both indices were on track to end the week down 0.7% after two straight weeks of gains.

“There is a feeling that valuations in some cases are stretched and some people are making a profit,” said AK Prabhakar, head of research at IDBI Capital in Mumbai.

He said there could be some volatility and lower volumes on Friday as the bigger players stay out of the market due to a local holiday in the financial capital of Mumbai.

The top three brakes on the Nifty 50 were ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank, each falling by around 1%.

Private sector banks saw a rally in early February before investors started selling this week. For the month, they are still up 14.8%.

Reliance Industries Ltd grew 1.4% and was Nifty’s main asset. Local media reported that the conglomerate’s talks with Saudi Aramco for a stake sale were back on track.

State-run banks rose further, adding as much as 2.8% to a more than a year high and on track to end the week up more than 16%.

Earlier this week, Reuters reported that India had selected four public lenders for possible privatization.

Oil India Ltd jumped 4% after the consortium company with Engineers India decided to bid for Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd’s 61.65% stake in Numaligarh Refinery Ltd.

Other Asian equity markets pulled back from record highs as rising bond yields and disappointing US unemployment data hurt investor confidence about a rapid economic recovery from the pandemic.

Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu


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