Mumbai: Indian shares fell 0.7% on Tuesday as investors took profits after the market rallied 36% over seven weeks, taking cues from world equities that were weighed down by fears of a possible flu pandemic.
Top telecoms firm Bharti Airtel, energy giant Reliance Industries and diversified cigarette firm ITC led the losses.
By 11:05am, the 30-share BSE index was down 0.7% at 11,293.31 points, with 22 stocks declining, after having fallen as much as 1.2%. The 50-share NSE index was down 1.2% at 3,429.20.
Traders said there could be some short covering ahead of the expiry of monthly derivatives contracts on Wednesday, keeping trade choppy. The market is closed on Thursday and Friday for local holidays.
“Globally, the flu fears are definitely an overhang, though this may only be temporary. So this is leading to some weakness in the Indian market after the recent rise,” Amitabh Chakraborty, president of equities at Religare Securities, said.
Asian shares fell on worries about the potential economic fallout from the spread of a new strain of flu that has killed up to 149 people in Mexico in a couple of weeks and may have spread as far as Asia.
Japan’s Nikkei was down 2.1%, while MSCI’s measure of other Asian markets fell 1.9%.
Bharti Airtel shed 3.1% to Rs719.90, after rallying 23% over the past seven weeks. The mobile operator is expected to report on Wednesday quarterly profit rose a fifth on robust signing of new users and steady tariffs.
Reliance Industries, which has the most weight in the main index, eased 0.5% to Rs1,775.90, after having jumped 52.5% over the past seven weeks. ITC declined 1.8% to Rs189.65.
In the broader section, losers led advancers 1,039 to 773 on relatively moderate volume of 91.9 million shares.