Sensex falls 280 points as North Korea tensions soar; NTPC top loser after govt’s stake sale move

Indian shares fell on Tuesday and were set to snap four consecutive sessions of gains as the firing of a missile over Japan by North Korea rattled investors, while the expiry of local derivatives contracts this week also hit sentiment.

In a sharp escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula, North Korea fired a missile early on Tuesday that flew over Japan and landed in Pacific waters about 1,180 kilometres (735 miles) off the northern region of Hokkaido.

 Asian share markets tumbled, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 0.6 percent.

The missile firing added to the unease in Indian markets that were already cautious ahead of the monthly derivatives contracts expiry on Thursday.

“Early negativity from Asian markets over North Korea followed through to the domestic market,” said Anand James, chief market strategist with Geojit Financial Services.

“Investors are also booking profits after Nifty tested 9,900 levels on Monday while there is some volatility ahead of the expiry,” he added.

At 1:17 pm, the broader NSE Nifty was down 0.9 percent or 90 points at 9,822.80, while the benchmark BSE Sensex also eased 0.8 percent 280 points at 31,467.64.

Power producer NTPC was the biggest loser on both the indexes. The stock declined over 4 percent after the Indian government said it would sell a 5 percent stake in the company with an option to sell 5 percent more through a two-day stock market auction in a potential $2.2 billion deal.

 Meanwhile, shares in Infosys fell 1 percent on profit-booking after having risen nearly 8 percent in the last four sessions.

The stock had gained more than 3 percent in the previous session, with co-founder Nandan Nilekani returning as chairman after the shock resignation of chief executive Vishal Sikka last week.

Shares in ACC, Bank of Baroda and Tata Power Co dropped after their exclusion from the NSE index.

Meanwhile, Reliance Infrastructure surged 7.7 percent on reports that renewable energy firm Greenko is in talks to buy the company’s electricity business in Mumbai.

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