Indian shares retreated for the fourth consecutive session on Wednesday, with the broader Nifty index hitting a 3-week low, as lackluster global cues and a political war between ruling Congress party and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party over irregularities in the allotment of coal mines dampened investor mood ahead of first-quarter GDP growth data due out on Friday.
Global cues remained subdued, with stocks falling broadly in Asia and Europe as investors exercised caution ahead of Fed Chairman Bernanke's speech at the Jackson Hole. Expectations for a third round of asset buying remain high as Bernanke used the Jackson Hole meeting in the previous two years to flag Fed's intention to ease policy.
The benchmark 30-share Sensex ended the session down 140 points or 0.8 percent at 17,491, with 21 of its components retreating. The broader Nifty index fell by 47 points or 0.88 percent to 5,288, while the BSE mid-cap and small-cap indexes ended down 0.5 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.
High-beta realty, commodity-sensitive metal and rate-sensitive auto stocks led the decliners after RBI governor D Subbarao said India should be prepared to suffer a credit ratings downgrade. Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Hindalco, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto, DLF and Sterlite Industries fell 1-5 percent.
Telecom stocks extended recent losses, with Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communication falling 3-5 percent to hit fresh 52-week lows, after global brokerage major CLSA maintained an 'underweight' rating on the telecom sector, citing factors like regulatory hurdles and risks of further write-off.
FMCG stocks saw some defensive buying after reports suggested monsoon rains revived over growing areas in the past week after slow start. Dabur India rallied 2.8 percent, Colgate Palmolive rose 1.2 percent and ITC rose half a percent, while Hindustan Unilver ended largely unchanged.
by RTT Staff Writer
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