Indian shares slide as financials offset Fed rate optimism

FILE PHOTO: A man walks out of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai

By Nishit Navin and Bharath Rajeswaran

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares extended losses for a fifth straight session on Wednesday, dragged by financials while favourable inflation data in the United States improved the odds of a smaller rate hike at the upcoming Federal Reserve meeting, limiting the losses.

The Nifty 50 index closed 0.42% lower at 16,972.15, while the S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.59% to 57,555.90. Both the indexes advanced nearly 1% during the session before reversing the gains.

Graphic: Nifty slips below 17,000 after five months -

The benchmarks mirrored high weightage financials, which closed 0.77% lower. Ten of the 13 major sectoral indexes logged losses.

The Sensex and Nifty defied recovery in global markets after in-line U.S. inflation data bolstered bets of a smaller 25 basis-point rate hike by the Fed at its March 21-22 policy meeting. The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.71%. [MKTS/GLOB]

"Markets do look oversold, but there are clouds of uncertainties," said Atul Suri, chief executive of Marathon Trends - PMS.

"In the short run, the Fed is likely to be moderate, which is a silver lining," Suri said, pointing to the U.S. banking crisis.

Global equities sold off over the last few sessions on fears of contagion from the failure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in the United States.

"For long-term investors, there are value picks available in the current market. But to bet on the markets having hit a bottom already is a bit premature," said Neeraj Dewan, director at Quantum Securities.

Among individual stocks, Bharti Airtel fell nearly 2% after analysts flagged rival Reliance Jio's newly launched postpaid plans could hurt the sector and pose downside risk to earnings growth.

Asian Paints climbed almost 3% after analysts highlighted an attractive entry opportunity following a recent fall in share prices.

($1 = 82.2600 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Nishit Navin and Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman, Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Eileen Soreng)