Saturday, May 21

Indian shares fall on hawkish Fed, focus turns to RBI

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BENGALURU — Indian shares fell for a third straight session on Thursday, as global sentiment soured on hawkish US Federal Reserve minutes, while investors looked forward to the Reserve Bank of India’s policy decision on Friday amid rising inflationary pressures.

The NSE Nifty 50 index declined 0.6% to 17,692.70, as of 0459 GMT, and the S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.5% to 59,296, in line with broader Asia.

Minutes of the Fed’s March meeting, released on Wednesday, showed deepening concern among policymakers that inflation had broadened through the economy and need for tighter monetary policy.

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“The Fed minutes is impacting global markets and bond yields are rising. The Russia-Ukraine issue is not fully settled. Globally, costs are rising,” said Anita Gandhi, a whole-time director at Arihant Capital Markets.

Markets will be looking for the RBI’s rate stance as the economy has already opened, said Gandhi, adding that the Russia-Ukraine conflict has affected crop sowing and thus food inflation is going to be there.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will likely delay its first interest rate hike by at least four months to August at the earliest, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

Inflation is forecast to remain high above the RBI’s 4% medium-term target and economists polled by Reuters said the central bank must now start worrying about inflation, especially with global peers already rising rates to counter price surge.

Shares of Zee Entertainment fell as much as 2.5% after US investment firm Invesco said on Wednesday it planned to cut its stake in Zee by more than a third to 11%.

The Nifty Bank index fell 0.4% and the finance index dropped 0.8%. Both the indexes were down for a third straight day after gaining more than 4% on Monday. (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V and Subhranshu Sahu )