Sensex, Nifty extend losses as financials slide

The NSE Nifty 50 index closed 0.91% lower at 14,981.75, while the S&P BSE Sensex ended down 0.85% at 50,889.76.

Analysts have warned that the valuation of certain stocks is stretched and that some investors were booking profits. (Photo: Reuters)

Indian shares fell for a fourth straight session on Friday and finished the week down more than 1% as investors took profits from financial stocks after a recent rally.

The country’s equity markets scaled record peaks earlier this week on the back of strong corporate earnings, a well-received federal budget and strong foreign fund inflows. But they have retreated from those peaks as investors lock in gains in recent winners.

The NSE Nifty 50 index closed 0.91% lower at 14,981.75, while the S&P BSE Sensex ended down 0.85% at 50,889.76.

Read | Sensex, Nifty flat as private bank stocks drag

Lenders State Bank of India, Axis Bank ICIC Bank were the three biggest drags on the Nifty 50, falling between 3.5% to 3%.

Nifty’s private sector bank index, which has gained more than 14% in February, closed down 1.6%.

Analysts have warned that the valuation of certain stocks is stretched and that some investors were booking profits.

State-run banks’ five-session rally came to an end on Friday, with the Nifty PSU banks index sliding 4.8% lower. However, the index booked a weekly gain of 10.7%.

Reuters reported earlier this week that India had shortlisted four state-run lenders for possible privatisation.

All major Nifty sub-indexes closed lower, with the Nifty auto index slipping 2.7%.

Elsewhere, Reliance Industries Ltd ended 0.6% higher and was the top boost to the Nifty.

Shares of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories reversed course in late afternoon trade to gain 1.73% after it sought emergency use authorization for Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine in India.

In broader Asia, stock markets pulled back from record highs as rising bond yields and disappointing U.S. jobless data hurt investor confidence about a speedy economic recovery from the pandemic.

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