Mumbai: Indian shares snapped a three-day rise and fell nearly 2% in low-volume trade on Monday, as weak US jobs data and concerns that euro zone worries were not yet over reduced risk appetite in markets across the world.
Second-largest mobile firm Reliance Communications bucked the trend and rose as much as more than 6% after its board approved selling up to 26% stake to strategic or private investors at a premium to its current market price.
The 30-share BSE index closed down 1.97%, or 336.62 points, to finish at 16,781.07 points, after it had gained 1.5% last week.
Twenty-seven of its components lost ground.
Financials topped the losers’ chart after the finance minister told Reuters on Friday the country would not pause rate hikes for now.
Neeraj Dewan, director of Quantum Securities, said that worries about a debt crisis in Hungary were the latest to add to investor discomfort.
“It is the fear sentiment that is driving markets down,” he said.
“Pressure will continue on FIIs (foreign institutional investors) for some time. Risk appetite is not going to return anytime soon.”
Foreign funds are net sellers of around $22 million on stocks so far this month, after taking out $2 billion in May following a global trend to reduce risk exposure in the wake of the euro zone debt woes.
For the year-to-date, India’s benchmark Sensex is down only 3.9%, outperforming its peers such as China’s Shanghai Composite index, which has dropped 23.4% and Brazil’s Bovespa, which has shed 10.1%.
Reliance Communications closed 4.6% higher at Rs175.90. About 11.1 million shares were traded, about more than five times the full-day average of nearly 2 million in the past 30 days.
Top lender State Bank of India shed 2.3% while leading private-sector lenders ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank declined 2.8% and 0.4%, respectively.
The government said on Friday listed companies must have a public float of at least 25%, a move which could prompt tens of billions of dollars in share sales.
Dewan said that while stocks of domestic companies which do not meet the new minimum float requirement were battered, stocks of foreign companies’ Indian units gained on delisting hopes.
“They may not opt to dilute their stake. Also, delisting would be faster than adopting new norms,” he said.
Novartis India and Alfa Laval gained 5.4% and 6.2%, respectively.
Oracle Financial and Astrazeneca Pharma India jumped 6.6% and 9.7%, respctively.
However, real estate firms DLF, state-run utility NTPC and outsourcer Wipro, three index firms that will be impacted by the new listing rule, fell between 0.4 and 6.2%.
Metals makers witnessed a steep decline as London copper slumped to near eight-month lows and Shanghai metals hit their downside limit.
Aluminium maker Hindalco and non-ferrous metal producer Sterlite Industries closed 5.1% and 4.2% lower, respectively.
Tata Steel, the world’s eighth-largest steel producer, dropped 4.6% while Jindal Steel and Power fell 2.6%.
In the broader market, more than two shares declined for every share that advanced, on low volume of 251 million shares.
The 50-share NSE index closed nearly 2% lower at 5,034.
Broadly, MSCI’s all-country world stock index was down 1.1% by 1019 GMT and its emerging market counterpart shed 2.4%.