Sensex, Nifty slip as virus worries grow; lenders, auto stocks drag
Photo Credit: Reuters

Indian shares ended lower on Tuesday on growing concerns about rising coronavirus cases and fresh lockdowns in some of the COVID-19 hotspots in the country.

The broader NSE Nifty 50 index closed down 1.81% at 10,607.35 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex ended 1.8% lower at 36,033.06, dragged by losses in banking and auto stocks.

Coronavirus cases in the world's second-most populous country rose to 9,06,752 as of Tuesday morning, according to the federal health ministry data.

The industrial hub of Pune, near India's financial capital Mumbai, and the southern city of Bengaluru announced fresh lockdowns starting this week following a surge in cases.

Banking and financial stocks fell for a third session as worries mount over bad debt and a loan repayment moratorium that threatens to hurt revenue. The Nifty banking closed down 3.16%, while the financials index ended 2.45% lower.

Rating agency Moody's on Monday also warned of pandemic-related headwinds to the Indian banking sector.

The Nifty auto index closed down 2.38% at its lowest level since January 2019, after an industry body report said auto sales for June nearly halved from a year ago.

India's auto sales volume will take another 3-4 years to reach 2018 levels, an executive from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers said.

Asian shares also slipped on flaring US-China tensions and persisting virus fears.

Private-sector lenders Indusind Bank and Axis Bank were the top percentage laggards on the domestic blue-chip Nifty index, shedding 5.5% and 5%, respectively.

Truck and motorcycle maker Eicher Motors dropped 4% and India's largest carmaker by market share Maruti Suzuki declined 3.6%.

The NSE pharma index advanced 0.4% and was the session's only gainer among sectors. Generic drugmaker Dr Reddy's Laboratories rose 2.14% and was among the few advancing stocks.

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