Sensex, Nifty subdued after poor reaction to economic package
Photo Credit: Reuters

Indian shares ended Friday little changed after details on the government's economic package failed to impress investors already worried about rising coronavirus cases and poor earnings reports.

The NSE Nifty 50 index ended 0.06% lower at 9,136.85, while the S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.08% to 31,097.73. Both indexes had fallen as much as 1% earlier during the day. The Nifty 50 ended this week 1.24% lower, its second straight weekly fall.

India has been unveiling a series of economic measures as part of a Rs 20 trillion ($265 billion) fiscal and monetary package, but announcements over the past two days -- including loan guarantees for small businesses and free food grains for workers -- have fallen short of market expectations.

Analysts have pointed out that the measures amount to limited fiscal spending, and that although they provide businesses and workers with liquidity, the steps will do little to stimulate consumption demand and provide a boost to the economy in the short term.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to outline more measures on Friday during a media address at 1600 local time (1030 GMT), her third press briefing in as many days.

The Nifty banking index, particularly volatile in recent days as the sector comes under pressure due to the COVID-19 crisis, fell 1.2%. Three of India's private-sector banks -- ICICI, Axis and HDFC Bank -- were the top three biggest drags on the Nifty 50.

Coronavirus infections in India reached 81,970 as of Friday, inching steadily closer to the tally in China, where the pandemic originated.

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