Tuesday, February 27

Indian shares flat as consumer stocks offset energy gains

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BENGALURU — Indian shares struggled for direction on Tuesday, as gains in state-run oil marketing companies on price expectations hike countered losses in consumer firms, while a continued rise in crude oil futures also weighed on sentiment.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.02% to 17,120.05 by 0355 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.06% to 57,260.02.

Both indexes gained about 4% last week, helped by falling oil prices, signs of progress in Russia-Ukraine peace talks and further easing of local COVID-19 restrictions amid an expanded vaccination drive.

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However, a lack of material progress in the peace talks amid continued fighting, and a possible energy embargo against Russia by the European Union have sent oil prices jumping again.

State-controlled fuel retailers in India, which is the world’s third biggest consumer and importer of oil, will raise petrol and diesel pump prices for the first time since November, two dealers told Reuters late on Monday.

Bharat Petroleum Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp and Indian Oil Corp gained between 1.6% and 2.5%.

The Nifty FMCG Index fell 1.01%. Consumer giant Hindustan Unilever lost 2% and was the top percentage loser on the Nifty 50.

(Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)