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Sensex, Nifty slide on lockdown extension worries
Photo Credit: Reuters

Indian shares fell on Monday, dragged down by financial stocks, as Asia's third-biggest economy looked set to extend a lockdown to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

The NSE Nifty 50 index closed 1.3% lower at 8,993.85, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex slid 1.51% to 30,690.02.

India will extend the 21-day lockdown due to end Tuesday, according to a state chief minister with knowledge of discussions among top officials, although the federal government has yet to make an announcement. 

As of Monday, the country has reported 9,152 confirmed cases and 308 deaths.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation at 10 am on Tuesday, his office said in a tweet.

India is planning to partially open up some parts of the economy to offset the economic damage of the lockdown, with the industries ministry recommending re-starting some manufacturing in the automobile, textile, defence, electronics and other sectors, according to a government note that Reuters has reviewed.

Top private-sector lender HDFC Bank Ltd was the top drag on the indexes, closing 2.95% lower, while conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd slid 2.25%.

Non-banking finance firm Bajaj Finance Ltd dropped 10.3% and was the biggest loser in Mumbai trading.

Data due later in the day is expected to show that India's retail inflation dropped to a four-month low in March on softer food and fuel prices and as demand likely plummeted due to the lockdown, according to a Reuters poll.

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