BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares were broadly flat on Wednesday as escalating border tensions with China and a spike in coronavirus cases both at home and abroad quelled hope of a continuation of the past month’s recovery.
The Nifty and the Sensex, which fell about 0.5% shortly after open, recouped some losses to move slightly higher.
By 0450 GMT, the Nifty 50 index was up 0.1% at 9,922.90 while the Sensex edged 0.08% higher to 33,620.25.
Late on Tuesday, the Indian army said 20 of its soldiers had been killed in clashes with Chinese troops at a disputed border site in the western Himalayas.
“China won’t take it lying down. Until there is more clarity, nervousness could prevail,” said Deepak Jasani, head of research, HDFC Securities.
“All of Asia is range bound, people are hopeful that things won’t worsen.”
Broader Asian markets were little changed on Wednesday as fresh cases of the coronavirus infections and rising geopolitical tensions hurt investor confidence.
North Korea on Wednesday vowed to send back troops to demilitarized border units in the latest step towards nullifying inter-Korean peace accords.
Adding to these worries was a rise in the number of coronavirus infections, with cases hitting record highs in six U.S. states, while Beijing struggled to contain a fresh outbreak.
On Tuesday, the number of COVID-19 deaths had neared 12,000 and number of infections surged to over 354,000 in India.
In Mumbai trading, shares of telecom operator Bharti Airtel Ltd and car maker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd were the top boost. Both stocks were up over 2.5%.
India’s small- and mid-cap stocks rose more than their larger peers. The S&P BSE MidCap index was up 0.14%, while the S&P BSE SmallCap index gained 0.43%.
Shares of auto maker Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd fell 2.32% and Power Grid Corporation slipped 2.2% and were the top drags on the Nifty 50 index.
Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva