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Indian shares flat as IT stocks counter gains in banks

A security guard walks past the logo of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) inside its building in Mumbai, India, May 28, 2019. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

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BENGALURU, May 25 (Reuters) – Indian shares shed early gains to trade flat on Wednesday, as losses in technology stocks partially offset strength in banks and broader Asian equities, while appetite also dropped as the risk of an economic downturn hangs over markets.

The NSE Nifty 50 index (.NSEI) held its ground at 16,138.80, as of 0514 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex (.BSESN) was flat at 54,074.20. The indexes closed lower for a second straight session on Tuesday.

“Domestic equities are still in a directionless trend because of very high global volatility but mostly this is a sell-on-rise market,” said Prashanth Tapse, vice-president of research at Mehta Equities.

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“With respect to today’s FOMC meeting highlights, there may be some harsh statements on inflation and interest rate hikes so the market is simply discounting that.”

The Nifty IT index fell as much as 2.7% to its lowest level since last June, with Infosys (INFY.NS), Tata Consultancy Services (TCS.NS) and Wipro (WIPR.NS) dropping as much as between 1% and 2%.

Hiring freeze and an increase in employee termination to cut costs are likely to slow down the unprecedented demand for tech talent in the coming quarters, a Nomura analyst said in a note.

“This could lead to a material fall in attrition in FY24F, a margin tailwind for the (IT) sector,” the note added.

Lending some support to the Nifty 50, the Nifty’s finance (.NIFTYFIN), banking (.NSEBANK), and private sector banks’ (.NIFPVTBNK) sub-indexes rose more than 1% each.

Adani Ports (APSE.NS) fell 3.4% and was among the top losers in the Nifty 50. The port operator on Tuesday reported a 20% decline in its March-quarter net profit.

Airline operator InterGlobe Aviation (INGL.NS) fell 1% ahead of its quarterly earnings results.

Asian stocks were mostly in the positive territory even as global growth concerns loomed and a weak U.S. economic data weighed on Wall Street. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) rose 0.7%.

Investors await minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting due later in the day. The U.S. central bank had pledged to aggressively tackle persistent price growth by hiking the cost of borrowing.

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Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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