July 31, 2020 / 5:38 AM / 6 days ago

Indian shares flat as IT gains offset Reliance drop, weak Asian sentiment

* NSE, BSE indexes little changed

* Reliance drops as much as 2.6%

* IT index hits record high

By Derek Francis

BENGALURU, July 31 (Reuters) - Indian shares were little changed on Friday, as strength in IT stocks countered a subdued results-led selloff in Reliance Industries and weakness in broader Asian markets after disappointing U.S. GDP data.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.01% to 11,104.4 and the S&P BSE Sensex dropped 0.04% to 37,714.16 by 0508 GMT in a volatile session.

Shares of Reliance Industries, India’s most valuable company, fell as much as 2.6% in early trade, after the company’s revenue from operations fell almost 44% as the coronavirus crisis slammed its refining and petrochemicals businesses.

“Reliance did see weakness in its petrochemicals business, though most of its earnings were on expected lines and Jio did well,” said Samrat Dasgupta, chief executive at Esquire Capital.

“The stock has had an upward run for many days now so there is some profit taking too.”

The conglomerate’s stock has gained for eight out of the last 10 sessions and has seen its market capitalization cross 13 trillion rupees ($174.01 billion) during that time.

The U.S. economy suffered its biggest blow to its GDP since the Great Depression in the second quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic shattered consumer and business spending.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asian shares outside Japan was last down 0.22% by late morning.

In India, IT stocks gained with the Nifty IT index rising as much as 1.9% to a record high.

Infosys rose 2.3%, while Tata Consultancy Services gained 2%.

Large shadow lender HDFC declined as much as 2.4%, while drugmaker Cipla was the top gainer, rising 2.7%.

The country’s coronavirus cases surged by over 55,000 in the past 24 hours to 1.64 million, government data showed https://www.mohfw.gov.in. A Reuters poll published on Wednesday said the outlook for Asia’s third-largest economy has worsened as business activity slows due to soaring COVID-19 infections. ($1 = 74.7100 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Derek Francis in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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