Indian shares backed down from record highs hit in early trade on Monday, as earnings from top valued companies failed to impress investors, and refiner Indian Oil Corp Ltd slumped to a 15-month low.
The NSE Nifty 50 index fell 0.39% to 12,304.5 by 0503 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was down 0.35% at 41,799.97. The Nifty and Sensex had touched fresh peaks at 12430.5 and 42,273.87, respectively, in early trade.
Sentiment also dented by a surge in oil prices after two large crude production bases in Libya began shutting down amid a military blockade. India, the world’s third-biggest oil consumer, imports about 80% of its oil needs, making it highly susceptible to crude price swings.
“Investors are liable to take profits when markets are trading at record highs,” said AK Prabhakar, head of research at IDBI Capital in Mumbai, adding that focus will now shift to mid-cap companies trading at attractive valuations. Reliance Industries Ltd, India’s largest company by market value, reversed an early 1.8% gain to fall as much as 1.9%. The conglomerate reported another record quarterly profit on Friday despite weakness in its refining business, but did not give a timeframe for closing its deal with Saudi Aramco .
HDFC Bank Ltd fell 1.6% after an early 2.1% gain and was the biggest drag on the Nifty. HDFC, India’s largest bank by market value, posted a 33% jump in quarterly profit on Saturday but reported a tick up in bad loans for the quarter.
Top IT firm Tata Consultancy Services Ltd slipped 2.1% after a muted performance in the third quarter.
Indian Oil Corp fell 7.3% to its lowest since Oct. 2018 and was the biggest loser on the Nifty.
Power Grid Corp of India was the top gainer on the indexes, rising as much as 6.9% to its highest in nearly five months.
Broader Asian shares were near a 20-month high, inspired by Wall Street’s run of record peaks. However, early turnover in Asia was light with U.S. stock and bond markets closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.