Indian shares erased early losses but remained subdued on Wednesday, as gains in pharma, fast moving consumer goods and media stocks offset losses in high-weightage financials and metals, while concerns over U.S. debt ceiling deadlock weighed on the sentiment.
The blue-chip Nifty 50 NIFTY index was up 0.04% at 18,354.50 as of 10:32 a.m. IST, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex SENSEX rose 0.05% to 62,020.50. Both the benchmarks had fallen 0.4% during the session.
Four of the 13 major sectoral indexes declined, with financials CNXFINANCE losing 0.2%. ICICI Bank Ltd ICICIBANK, Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd HDFC and HDFC Bank Ltd HDFCBANK were among the top Nifty 50 losers.
Metal index CCNXMETAL, which had jumped over the last three sessions, lost 0.4%. Adani Enterprises Ltd ADANIENT, with a 17% weightage in the index, was down 1.5%. The stock had surged 40% over the last three sessions.
Pharma CNXPHARMA stocks advanced 0.5%, led by Biocon Ltd BIOCON after the company reported a rise in March-quarter profit while fast-moving consumer goods CNXFMCG climbed 0.4%.
Rising uncertainty over U.S. debt ceiling talks, nine days ahead of a potential default, dragged Wall Street equities down overnight. Hawkish comments from two Federal Reserve officials also weighed on the sentiment. Asian markets remained subdued.
“It is prudent to exercise caution,” said Prashant Tapse, senior vice president for research at Mehta Equities Ltd. “The U.S. debt ceiling negotiations continue to create ripples, casting a shadow on markets.”
Among individual stocks, Mahindra CIE Automotive MAHINDCIE advanced more than 7% as 3.2% equity changed hands in block deals after reports said promoter Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd M_M planned to sell 12 million shares in the company.
On the other hand, Dishman Carbogen Amcis Ltd DCAL tumbled over 10% after reporting a wider loss in the March quarter.
Hindalco Industries Ltd HINDALCO lost over 1% and was the top Nifty 50 loser ahead of its March quarter earnings report.