Indian shares adrfit in volatile session, Reliance top drag

BENGALURU, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Indian shares swung between gains and losses on Tuesday as investors parsed through news of a new fast-spreading strain of the coronavirus in Britain that could slow global economic recovery.

The NSE Nifty 50 index was down 0.34% at 13,282.65 by 0520 GMT, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.33% to 45,401.30.

Both the indexes rose as much as 0.8% in early trade before changing course to fall up to 0.8%.

On Monday, the indexes tumbled 3% and snapped six straight sessions of gains as countries across the globe, including India, shut travel from Britain due to concerns over the new virus variant.

Among the losers on Tuesday, airline operators Interglobe Aviation and SpiceJet Ltd dropped 5.4% and 10%, respectively.

“The news related to the new coronavirus is being absorbed by the market and that explains the panic, most people seem to be reacting to it now and we are seeing some pressure after the initial bounce,” said Anand James, chief market strategist at Geojit Financial Services in Kochi.

“People who have joined late are limiting the loss or locking up profits in the first bounce, with only two days to pack all the action, we are seeing volatility.”

India’s volatility index rose as much as 4.14% to its highest in more than five weeks on Tuesday in a holiday-shortened trading week.

The Nifty Media index and the Nifty PSU Bank index fell the most among sectoral indexes, down as much as 4.37% and 3.93%, respectively.

Shares of India’s most valuable company, Reliance Industries Ltd, slipped as much as 2.64% and were the top drag.

Bucking the trend, the Nifty IT index rose as much as 1.53%, led by a 4% rise in MindTree Ltd.

Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Aditya Soni