Indian shares begin 2023 with weekly losses on earnings, Fed worries

A broker reacts while trading at his computer terminal at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares began 2023 with weekly losses, with investors nervous ahead of the earnings season after recent warnings by some major companies.

Strong U.S. jobs data, which indicated the Federal Reserve could keep hiking rates, also weighed.

On Friday, the Nifty 50 index closed 0.74% lower at 17,859.45. The S&P BSE Sensex lost 0.75% to 59,900.37, closing below 60,000 for the first time in over a week.

The two indexes have retreated for the third session in a row now. The Nifty 50, which traded between 50-day and 100-day simple moving averages for ten sessions, closed below the 100-day support on Friday.

GRAPHIC : Nifty slips below 100-day SMA support after 10 sessions  - https://www.reuters.com/graphics/NIFTY-SMA/SMF-NIFTY/gkvlwxmwwpb/chart.png

"The nervousness in the markets over the last few sessions is due to muted earnings expectations, like the kind we saw with Bajaj Finance and FMCG companies," said Aishvarya Dadheech, director and fund manager at Ambit Asset Management.

Earlier this week, shadow lender Bajaj Finance reported moderate growth in quarterly new loans, while Godrej Consumer Products and Marico had flagged muted rural demand.

Dabur on Friday closed 3.47% down after the company warned of hits to its margins in the third quarter due to currency movements in international business and inflation.

Overnight, U.S. data showed private employers hired more workers than expected in December, suggesting strength in the labour market that could allow the Fed to boost interest rates.

Investors are already nervous about high rates slowing economic growth and that does not bode well for Indian IT services companies, which get a large part of their revenue from the U.S. market.

IT stocks tumbled 2%, the most among the 13 major sectors, while the high-weightage financials dropped nearly 1%.

Thirty-nine of the Nifty 50 constituents fell, led by JSW Steel and Tata Consultancy Services, which slid about 3%. TCS is scheduled to report results on Monday. ($1 = 82.5680 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Janane Venkatraman)