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Coronavirus fears roil global markets, Indian shares slip before Budget

With growth in Asia's third-largest economy languishing at its lowest in a decade, the government is likely to increase spending on infrastructure and offer some tax incentives in its 2020/2021 budget

Reuters 

Markets

Indian got off to a choppy start in a special trading session on Saturday ahead of the annual budget when Finance Minister is expected to unveil a raft of measures to revive a sagging economy.

In early trade slipped in reaction to an overnight shakeout in global on growing concerns about the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak in China, but focus is set to shift to the domestic budget.

"We opened negative in the aftermath of the correction in the US market due to concerns over the China virus," said A K Prabhakar, head of research at IDBI Capital.

"But from here on, the domestic market might recover ahead of the budget since we have seen significant correction over the past few days and on good results from SBI and Hindustan Unilever."

With growth in Asia's third-largest economy languishing at its lowest in a decade, the government is likely to increase spending on infrastructure and offer some tax incentives in its 2020/2021 budget.

The government estimates that economic growth in the year ending March 31 will slip to 5 per cent, the weakest pace since the global financial crisis of 2008-09. Growth is expected to recover to 6-6.5 per cent in the following year.

The NSE 50 index and the benchmark S&P BSE were trading largely flat by 0426 GMT after falling as much as 0.7 per cent each in early trade.

Mid-cap and small-cap shares, which were under pressure last year, have outperformed bluechip stocks in January in the run up to the budget.

The 50 fell 1.7 per cent in January, while the slipped 1.3 per cent. However, the Midcap 50 Index climbed 4.6 per cent.

The bluechip indexes have rallied over 12 per cent last year, riding on a large corporate tax cut from the government in September aimed at boosting the economy. The rupee was 2.3 per cent weaker in 2019.

of roadbuilders Sadbhav Engineering Ltd and IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd surged 20-43% in January as investors bet on increased spending by the government in infrastructure.

Financial stocks were the biggest drag on Saturday, with private sector lenders HDFC Bank Ltd and Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd slipping around 2 per cent each.

Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd was the biggest loser on the Nifty 50, falling as much as 5.3 per cent to a near one-year low.

Consumer products giant Hindustan Unilever Ltd topped gains with a 2.6 per cent jump after posting a rise in quarterly profit on Friday.

First Published: Sat, February 01 2020. 10:16 IST
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