Indexes gain 2% over week as upbeat corporate earnings reports buoy sentiment
Photo Credit: Reuters

Indian shares snapped a four-day winning streak on Friday, driven lower by financial and consumer goods stocks, while heavyweight Reliance Industries slipped ahead of earnings due later in the day.

The NSE Nifty 50 index fell 1.77% to 14,631.1, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex shed 1.98% to close at 48,782.36. The indexes, however, gained 2.0% and 1.9% over the week as upbeat corporate earnings reports buoyed sentiment.

The Nifty and Sensex have fallen 5.2% and 7.1%, respectively, from February peaks as surging COVID-19 cases and related restrictions have threatened to derail the country's economic recovery.

On Friday, India posted another record daily rise in coronavirus cases of 386,452.

"After the expiry of futures yesterday, investors are likely awaiting further news before taking fresh positions as there is uncertainty surrounding the state elections and rise in cases," said Anita Gandhi, director at Arihant Capital Markets.

"The conditions at street level aren't great either... there are fears as vaccines are running short and hospital beds fill up."

Although domestic financial markets have braved the COVID-19 headwinds so far, the path ahead for Indian stocks is likely to be "choppy, dictated by the persistence of the pandemic caseload," DBS Bank said in a note to clients.

Oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Reliance Industries ended 1.5% lower, ahead of reporting quarterly results on Friday.

The financial services sub-index dropped 3%, after four consecutive sessions in positive territory, with heavyweight Housing Development Finance Corporation falling 4.7%.

Consumer goods stocks lost 1.1%, with Hindustan Unilever Ltd shedding 2.2%, a day after reporting a rise in quarterly profit.

Bucking the wider trend, pharmaceutical stocks ended 1.3% higher as demand for hospital supplies and drugs including remdesivir surged under mounting coronavirus cases.

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