July 22, 2020 / 4:35 AM / 24 days ago

Nifty, Sensex end lower as earnings momentum stalls, virus cases spike

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares snapped a five-session rally on Wednesday, dragged by auto stocks, as corporate earnings failed to impress and domestic coronavirus cases surged further.

A broker reacts while trading at his computer terminal at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai, August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

The NSE Nifty 50 index .NSEI, up 1.27% last week after a series of surprisingly upbeat reports from some of the country's biggest companies, fell 0.27% to 11,132.60. The S&P BSE Sensex .BSESN declined 0.16% to 37,871.52.

Motorcycle maker Bajaj Auto (BAJA.NS) reported a slump in profit for the three months to June, sending its shares down as much as 3.25% and dragging the Nifty auto index .NIFTYAUTO 1.2% lower.

Larger rival Hero Motocorp (HROM.NS) was the top loser among Nifty stocks with a 3.3% fall, while carmaker Tata Motors (TAMO.NS) skid about 2.8%.

TV18 Broadcasting (TVEB.NS), which reported a fall in quarterly profit, dropped as much as 9% after its results, while its sibling company Network18 Media (NEFI.NS) shed about 4.9% after posting a loss.

Industrial conglomerate Larsen and Toubro (LART.NS) was down 1.7% ahead of its quarterly earnings scheduled for release later in the day.

Consumer goods giant Hindustan Unilever (HLL.NS), which reported a first-quarter profit that missed expectations on Tuesday, declined 2.9%.

Coronavirus cases in the world’s second-most populous nation rose to nearly 1.2 million by Wednesday morning, according to government data, alarming investors as the outbreak hit production in many sectors and squeezed demand.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday sought to assuage concerns around an economic slump stemming from the pandemic and said the government has “kept all options open” to help industries hit by the crisis.

Globally, cases crossed 15 million, with U.S. President Donald Trump warning that the pandemic would get worse before it got better.

Among gainers in Mumbai was Axis bank (AXBK.NS), which rose as much as 7.13% after reporting better asset quality for the quarter to June and a fall in bad-loan provisioning on Tuesday.

The Nifty private-sector lenders index .NIFPVTBNK gained 0.66%.

Reporting by Derek Francis in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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