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Reliance pulls Indian shares lower as Amazon tries to block Future deal

BENGALURU, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Indian shares fell on Wednesday, dragged down by heavyweight Reliance Industries, after U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon.com sought to block Future Group’s $3.4 billion retail asset sale to the conglomerate, while pre-Budget jitters also weighed on sentiment.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index fell 0.78% to 14,127.70, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex slipped 0.84% to 47,940.00 by 0522 GMT. Financial markets were closed on Tuesday for a holiday.

Shares of Reliance Industries slipped as much as 2.6% to an over one-month low of 1,891.15 rupees, making it the top drag on Nifty.

Amazon.com requested an Indian court to enforce a Singapore arbitrator’s order that Reliance’s deal with the Future Group be put on hold, Reuters reported on Monday.

Future Retail’s shares fell 5% on the news, after Amazon.com also called for Future Group’s chief executive officer to be detained.

“There is some overhang in the markets due to negative global cues and some nervousness ahead of the budget because of which people are lightening their positions” said Siddhartha Khemka, head of retail research at Motilal Oswal Securities in Mumbai.

A Reuters poll of economists showed that India’s federal budget, due on Feb. 1, would help a significant economic recovery in financial year 2021/22.

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday revised India’s growth forecast for 2021 upwards to 11.5%.

Adding to the pressure, Asian shares also slipped as investors looked to the Federal Reserve’s guidance on monetary policy.

In Mumbai, shares of Kotak Mahindra Bank slipped 1.8%, after JP Morgan downgraded the stock as the lender reported quarterly results below expectations.

The Nifty Bank index fell 1.3%, with top private-sector lender HDFC Bank down 1.9%.

Shares of consumer giant Hindustan Unilever and private lender Axis Bank were down 2.1% and 1.7% respectively, ahead of their quarterly results later in the day. (Reporting by Philip George in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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