Indian shares traded marginally lower on Thursday as investors booked profits in recent outperformers, while soft US economic data, a relatively hawkish Federal Reserve and worries of political turmoil in the world’s largest economy hurt sentiment. Asian markets were spooked after The Washington Post reported US President Donald Trump is being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for possible obstruction of justice, citing unidentified officials. Gold edged up from a near three-week low as worries of political instability in the US saw money moving into the safe haven.
The Federal Reserve raised interest rates as expected on Wednesday and gave a first clear outline on its plan to reduce its $4.2-trillion portfolio of bonds. The global risk factors come at a time when Indian markets are running short of triggers after a recent rally. Since hitting a record high of 9,709.30 points on June 6, the broader NSE index has fallen around 1 percent. “Indian markets are at their peak and some consolidation is happening on the banking and financial stocks,” Siddhartha Khemka, head of research at Centrum Wealth, said.
The NSE was down 0.17 percent at 9,601.75 as of 0555 GMT, while the benchmark BSE index was 0.03 percent lower at 31,147.26. Nifty PSU bank index, which rallied late on Wednesday, was down 0.45 percent. Punjab National Bank fell as much as 3.49 percent, its biggest intraday percentage loss in over two weeks. The Nifty PSU bank index had gained 16.6 percent this year as of Wednesday’s close.
Nifty Pharma index rose 1.6 percent led by Aurobindo Pharma Ltd, up as much as 6.5 percent, on US FDA’s approval for a drug treating chronic kidney disease. Central Bank of India shares slid as much as 3 percent after the bank said on Wednesday that it is under RBI’s ‘corrective action’ over high bad loans and negative return on assets.