Indian shares open lower ahead of GDP data

BENGALURU, May 31 (Reuters) - Indian shares opened lower on Monday as investors awaited gross domestic product data for the fourth quarter, with economists being pessimistic after a harsh second wave of COVID-19 hit the country last month.

The NSE Nifty 50 index shed 0.34% to 15,381.35 by 0401 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex slipped 0.43% to 51,188.99.

The Nifty 50 index closed at a record high on Friday, with both the indexes posting weekly gains of around 2% each.

India’s statistics ministry will announce the GDP data at 1200 GMT, with economists saying the country’s economic growth likely picked up in the January-March quarter from the previous three months, but expressed pessimism about this quarter after a harsh second wave of COVID-19 hit the country last month.

Mortgage lender HDFC Ltd and software services firm Infosys Ltd were the top drags to the Nifty 50, losing 1.48% and 1.44%, respectively.

Investors’ sentiment has improved in the recent days due to a steady decline in daily COVID-19 cases in India. Last week, the country reported its lowest daily rise of cases in more than a month.

In the broader Asian market, shares were trying to extend their recent rally to a third week in the hope that U.S. jobs figures show the expected revival in hiring in May and keep the global recovery on track. (Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)