Indian shares retreat after recent peaks, set for weekly loss

BENGALURU, July 2 (Reuters) - Indian shares were on track to record a more than 1% weekly loss as they struggled for momentum, after hitting all-time highs recently, due to a lack of fresh domestic triggers.

The benchmark indices on Friday were largely unchanged as losses in heavyweight information technology stocks offset gains in pharmaceutical companies.

By 0503 GMT, the blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index was down 0.04% at 15,673.25 and the S&P BSE Sensex slipped 0.04% to 52,297.11.

While declining COVID-19 cases, easing of curbs and a surge in vaccinations have helped the Nifty and Sensex hit record highs as recently as Monday, they’ve been unable to make any headway since. For the week so far, they are down about 1.2%.

Frontline stocks have not done very well this week, with gains seen more in mid-cap and smaller companies, said Aishvarya Dadheech, fund manager at Ambit Asset Management in Mumbai.

Markets are in a wait-and-watch mode, and upcoming first-quarter earnings will set the tone of how things move from here, he said.

In Mumbai trading, the Nifty IT index fell 0.64% and was set for a second straight session of losses. IT major Tata Consultancy Services will be kicking off June-quarter earnings season next week.

The Nifty Pharma index gained as much as 0.89% to hit a record high. The sector has witnessed a slew of positive COVID-19-related developments, such as Zydus Cadila applying for emergency-use approval for its vaccine, and Cipla getting an approval to import partner Moderna’s shot.

The Nifty Bank index added 0.23%.

The Reserve Bank of India said in its Financial Stability Report on Thursday that the impact of the pandemic on the balance sheet of banks has not been as severe as projected earlier. (Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)