Indian shares log third straight month of gains on strong quarterly results

The new logo of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building is seen in Mumbai

By Manvi Pant

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares logged their third straight month of gains on strong quarterly earnings by behemoths, even as the benchmarks reversed early gains to settle lower during the session.

Blue-chip indexes Nifty 50 settled 0.2% lower to 22,604.85 points and the S&P BSE Sensex declined 0.3% to end at 74,482.78.

However, the benchmarks logged 1.2% and 1.1% gains each during the month as behemoth companies, including Reliance Industries, ICICI Bank and Wipro reported strong results.

The market sentiment looks positive, with most companies reporting strong quarterly profit numbers, said Anita Gandhi, founder and head of institution at Arihant Capital Markets.

During the session, the Nifty IT index fell 1.1% to lead losses in the benchmark index as investors awaited the Federal Reserve's policy meeting, scheduled later in the day, to determine if the U.S. central bank will keep rates unchanged for longer or introduce cuts.

Markets are pricing in a 97.3% chance of the Fed keeping rates unchanged in May 2024, according to the CME's FedWatch tool, compared with a 90.7% chance at the end of March.

However, the most-weighted sub-index - Nifty financials, extended an upward rally - up 0.1% to hit a record high at 21,841.15 and capped some losses.

India's top refiner, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), fell nearly 5% after its quarterly profit more than halved, leading to a 0.6% fall in the Nifty oil and gas index and was the top loser rank on the Nifty energy index, which ended flat.

Seven of the 13 major sectoral indexes ended in the red.

Indian markets will be closed on Wednesday for a holiday and trading will resume on Thursday, May 2.

(Reporting by Manvi Pant in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich, Mrigank Dhaniwala, Sonia Cheema and Sohini Goswami)