May 13, 2020 / 4:10 AM / 12 days ago

Sensex, Nifty subdued after poor reaction to economic package

The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building is pictured next to a police van in Mumbai, India, August 24, 2015. India's benchmark BSE index fell more than 5 percent on Monday to their lowest in a year, as a rout in Chinese equities sparked widespread unrest in global financial markets. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares ended Friday little changed after details on the government’s economic package failed to impress investors already worried about rising coronavirus cases and poor earnings reports.

The NSE Nifty 50 index ended 0.06% lower at 9,136.85, while the S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.08% to 31,097.73. Both indexes had fallen as much as 1% earlier on Friday. The Nifty 50 ended this week 1.24% lower, its second straight weekly fall.

India has been unveiling a series of economic measures as part of a 20-trillion-rupee ($265 billion) fiscal and monetary package, but announcements over the past two days - including loan guarantees for small businesses and free food grains for workers - have fallen short of market expectations.

Analysts have pointed out that the measures amount to limited fiscal spending, and that although they provide businesses and workers with liquidity, the steps will do little to stimulate consumption demand and provide a boost to the economy in the short term.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to outline more measures on Friday during a media address at 1600 local time (1030 GMT), her third press briefing in as many days.

The Nifty banking index, particularly volatile in recent days as the sector comes under pressure due to the COVID-19 crisis, fell 1.2%. Three of India’s private-sector banks - ICICI, Axis and HDFC Bank were the top three biggest drags on the Nifty 50.

Coronavirus infections in India reached 81,970 as of Friday, inching steadily closer to the tally in China, where the pandemic originated.

Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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