Sensex, Nifty slide as COVID-19 cases continue to surge

FILE PHOTO: People walk past the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai, India, November 4, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File photo

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian shares plunged on Monday amid a relentless surge in coronavirus cases and as the hardest-hit state of Maharashtra considers a lockdown, threatening to derail a recovery in Asia’s third-largest economy.

The NSE Nifty 50 index was down 2.25% at 14,506.25 by 0350 GMT, while the S&P BSE Sensex was 2.19% lower at 48,500.79.

Stocks across most industries declined, with financial shares being hit the hardest. HDFC Bank and HDFC were the two biggest drags on the Nifty 50, falling nearly 3% each.

The western state of Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital of Mumbai, is considering a lockdown and could take a final decision this week, a senior government official said.

India’s corporate earnings season kicks off from Monday, with software services firm Tata Consultancy Services expected to report March-quarter results.

Data on the country’s retail inflation for March is also expected later in the day. A Reuters poll of economists predicts that the reading likely edged up to a four-month high in March, led by higher food and fuel prices.

Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar in Bengaluru and Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai; editing by Uttaresh.V