Indian shares mark fourth day of losses as RBI hikes rate

·2-min read
A man speaks on his mobile phone past a newly launched Nifty Indices logo inside the National Stock Exchange building in Mumbai

By Rama Venkat

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian shares ended lower for a fourth session on Wednesday after the central bank's second rate hike in as many months fanned fears that more tightening might choke economic growth.

In a widely expected move, the Reserve Bank of India raised the repo rate by 50 basis points to 4.90% and dropped its "accommodative" stance, signalling stricter tightening ahead to fight soaring inflation.

At close, the NSE Nifty 50 index fell 0.37% to 16,356.25 and the S&P BSE Sensex was down 0.39% at 54,892.49.

In choppy trading earlier in the session, both indexes fell more than 0.70% following the central bank's decision, but briefly rose on the back of strength in banking stocks.

Retail inflation in April surpassed the RBI's tolerance band for the fourth month in a row and looks set to remain elevated on surging global prices of energy and food, but economic growth prospects are starting to look bleak.

Gross domestic product growth slowed to its weakest in a year last quarter from a year ago, its third consecutive slowdown.

Conglomerates Reliance Industries and ITC Ltd weighed on the Nifty 50 index, closing 1.8% and 2.2% lower, respectively. Bharti Airtel was the top percentage loser on the index, falling 3.2%.

Countering some of the losses, heavyweight lenders Bajaj Finance and State Bank of India gained over 1% each.

The Nifty realty index closed 1.89% higher, snapping a three-day streak of losses.

The central bank allowed rural co-operative banks to lend towards residential housing projects.

The RBI's move will help improve much-needed liquidity in the sector, said Sharad Mittal, director and chief executive of Motilal Oswal Real Estate Funds.

(Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Devika Syamnath)

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