Saturday, March 2

Indian shares end 1% lower as cautious investors wait for Fed meeting

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BENGALURU — Indian shares ended more than 1% lower on Tuesday in choppy trading as cooling oil and metal prices dragged down energy and steelmaker stocks, with investors locking in gains ahead of the US Federal Reserve meeting.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index closed down 1.23% at 16,663, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex fell 1.26% to end at 55,776.85.

“Investors are maintaining a cautious approach (ahead of the Fed)… there is some rebalancing happening,” said Likhita Chepa, senior research analyst at CapitalVia Global Research in Mumbai.

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The US central bank’s two-day meeting will commence later on Tuesday. The Fed is widely expected to raise its benchmark overnight interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point at the end of the meeting.

Domestic sentiment also soured as global markets fell on a combination of rising COVID-19 cases in China, a lack of major progress in Ukraine-Russia talks and the prospect of a Fed rate hike.

Investors should not rush to buy the dip as the correction in the markets is not based on just one factor, Chepa said, with the war adding a lot of uncertainty.

Oil and Natural Gas Corp was among the biggest percentage losers on the Nifty 50, falling 4.7%, as oil prices tumbled more than 5%. The Nifty energy index closed down 2.18%.

Concerns over the fallout from surging COVID-19 cases in top consumer China pushed iron ore futures and industrial metals down globally. In Mumbai, the Nifty Metal Index lost 4.07%. Steelmaker Tata Steel slid about 4.9%.

Among other stocks, digital payments company Paytm tumbled 12.2%, extending its slump amid mounting regulatory woes and a decision by investor SoftBank’s representatives to leave the company’s board.

(Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)