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Indian shares end week lower on inflation worries

Indian shares fell on Friday to end the week with losses of nearly 1%, dragged down by fears that a surge in oil prices due to the Ukraine war could accelerate inflation and further sap growth in an economy already slowed by COVID-19.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index (NIFTY) closed down 0.4% at 17,153 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex (.BSESN) fell 0.41% to 57,362.20.

Commodity prices have risen sharply since Russia invaded Ukraine, piling pressure on India which imports more than 80% of its oil needs. State-run fuel retailers hiked petrol and diesel pump prices three times this week to keep up with surging crude prices.

“The two key challenges and monitorables for the markets in the near term are the persistent inflationary pressures and the rising bond yields,” said Milind Muchhala, executive director, Julius Baer.

“Ukraine and Russia are large players in energy and several commodities, and the prices of several of these have spiked up since the beginning of the crisis.”

Consumer, information technology and pharmaceutical stocks were among the biggest drags on Friday.

The Nifty IT index (CNXIT) and the Nifty Pharma Index (CNXPHARMA) fell 1% and 0.9%, respectively, after ending more than 1% higher in the previous session.

The Nifty FMCG Index (CNXFMCG) was down 0.8%. Titan Co (TITAN) and Tech Mahindra (TECHM) were the top Nifty 50 percentage losers, falling 3.6% and 2.4%.

Among other individual share moves, InterGlobe Aviation (INDIGO), the parent of top airline IndiGo, gained 4.2% after J.P. Morgan upgraded its rating on the stock.

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