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Sensex, Nifty fail to hold gains, banks and energy stocks drag as lockdown extends
Photo Credit: Reuters

Indian shares retreated from one-month highs to settle lower on Wednesday, as the country entered an extended lockdown to curb the coronavirus spread, while weakness in global peers over warnings of the worst global recession since the 1930s weighed on sentiment.

The NSE Nifty 50 index ended down 0.76% at 8,925.3, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex closed 1.01% lower at 30,379.81, after each rose nearly 3% earlier in the session.

The rupee ended at a record closing low of 76.44 against the dollar.

MSCI's All-Country World Index, which tracks shares across 49 countries, was down 0.37%. Stocks in Europe slipped as the first batch of earnings reports reflected the damage from the pandemic, while worries of a plunge in oil demand hit energy stocks.

The International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday it expected the global economy to shrink by 3.0% during 2020 in a coronavirus-driven collapse of activity that will mark the steepest downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The government on Wednesday said it would allow opening up of some industries in rural areas after April 20 to reduce the distress caused to millions of people because of the lockdown. India has extended the lockdown on its 1.3 billion people until at least May 3, as total COVID-19 cases exceeded 10,000.

IT firm Wipro Ltd gave up gains to close 1.4% lower ahead of its quarterly results which kick off the March quarter earnings season.

Top private-sector lender HDFC Bank Ltd dropped 3.6% and was the biggest drag on the indexes, while oil-to-retail conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd closed down 3.3%, after hitting its highest level in more than five weeks earlier in the session.

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