Indian shares open lower on Fed rate hike fears, China COVID-19 woes

BENGALURU, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Indian stocks edged lower on Friday after strong U.S. economic data rekindled concerns about higher interest rates, while a surge in COVID-19 infections in China also dampened risk appetite.

The Nifty 50 index (.NSEI) was down 0.78% at 17,988 at 9:30 am IST, falling below the 18,000 mark for the first time since November 10. The S&P BSE Sensex (.BSESN) was down 0.72% at 60,390.90.

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China expects a peak in COVID-19 infections within a week, a health official said, sparking concern around the world. Read more

Almost all sector indices declined. The only exception <.NIPHARM> it was the pharma index, which rose 1.36% on news that India is set to increase exports of fever medicines to China. Read more

44 out of 50 Nifty components fell. Fewer gainers included healthcare stocks such as Cipla ( CIPL.NS ), Sun Pharma ( SUN.NS ) and Dr Reddy’s ( REDY.NS ).

Wall Street stocks fell sharply overnight after third-quarter gross domestic product growth was revised higher, while jobless claims for November also grew less than expected. Read more

The data showed a resilient economy and fueled fears that the Federal Reserve may raise rates further and tackle inflation for a longer period of time, raising the possibility of a recession.

That adds more weight to US personal consumption expenditure (PCE) data, the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, due later in the day.

Asian markets also fell after the drop in U.S. stocks, with MSCI Asia out of Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) down 0.94%.

Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Eileen Soreng

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