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Indian shares book weekly losses as virus surge forces restrictions
Photo Credit: Reuters

Indian shares ended lower on Friday to record weekly losses, as an unrelenting surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths deepened fears of further economic pain from the pandemic.

The NSE Nifty 50 index fell 0.45% to 14,341.35, while the S&P BSE Sensex slid 0.42% to 47,878.45.

The indexes lost 1.89% and 1.95% for the week, respectively, as the imposition of restrictions in major cities threatened to derail a nascent economic recovery.

"The entire market is in a spot about what lies ahead and whether the increase in cases will be met with stricter lockdown measures," said Nirali Shah, head of equity research at Samco Securities.

"This is clearly a corrective move."

India on Friday reported another record rise in daily coronavirus infections of 332,730, while the daily death toll also jumped by a record 2,263 as the health care system foundered.

Consumer goods stocks lost 0.93%, declining the most among sectors and falling for a fourth straight session.

IT stocks also fell for a fourth consecutive session, declining 0.8% as sector heavyweight Infosys Ltd slipped 1.3%.

Pharmaceutical shares were also lower. But drugmaker Cadila rose as much as 4.3% after it got emergency use approval to use a Hepatitis C drug as a treatment for COVID-19.

Energy stocks rose 0.96%, with electricity transmission company Power Grid Corporation of India jumping 3.78%.

Local media reported the company was planning on launching an infrastructure investment trust IPO. 

State-owned banks firmed 0.3%. The Reserve Bank of India on Thursday relaxed restrictions surrounding the payment of dividends by banks, allowing commercial banks to pay dividends from profits of up to 50%.

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