MUMBAI : Indian equity markets on Wednesday fell nearly 0.6% as investors avoided taking long positions ahead of key election results due next week. Exit polls for the election will be out on 19 May, while the final outcome is scheduled for 23 May.

At closing, the Sensex was down 0.55% at 37,114.88 points, while the NSE Nifty 50 index declined 0.58% to close at 11,157 points. So far this year, the Sensex has risen 3%.

"Broader market continues to trade with a negative bias with pressure seen in the mid-cap space. Volatility will remain high on account of the upcoming election results. Post recent corrections, we remain structurally positive above 10850 and await broader market health to improve before initiating aggressive longs", said Sahaj Agrawal, vice president – research (derivatives) – Kotak Securities.

Investors continued to eye quarterly corporate earnings. Of the 19 Nifty companies that have announced results so far, nine have either met or exceeded analyst estimates.

The recent prediction on monsoon by Skymet also worried investors. The southwest monsoon is likely to make its onset over the Indian coast around 4 June under the “shadow of El Niño", private weather forecasting agency Skymet said on Tuesday, signalling below normal rains that can hurt agriculture and the wider economy.

Meanwhile, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the southwest monsoon will hit Kerala on 6 June, about five days after the normal date of arrival in mainland India. The IMD on Wednesday monsoon is expected to be sluggish in its progression.

According to BoB Economic Research, "Skymet has predicted that rainfall in India is likely to be below normal at 93% of LPA. The forecast is dimmer than IMD’s first forecast of near normal with rainfall at 96% of LPA. Thus uncertainty persists with regard to onset and spatial distribution of monsoon which might pose upside risk to food inflation in the near term".

Yes Bank Ltd fell 8% after the Reserve Bank of India appointed former deputy governor Rama Subramaniam Gandhi as an additional director on the board of the bank, a rare move that will increase surveillance of the lender after it reported a loss due to a nine-fold surge in bad loans.

Tata Motors Ltd declined 8% ahead of its March quarter earnings on 20 May. According to Bloomberg analyst estimates, the company is expected to report a consolidated net profit of 570.50 crore, while revenue is seen at 8,5165.50 crore. On standalone basis, it may report a profit of 575.20 crore on revenue of 18172.70 crore.

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