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India Shares Post 4th Weekly Loss, Ukraine Crisis Escalates

BENGALURU, March 4 (Reuters) - Indian shares dropped over 1% to log their fourth consecutive week of losses on Friday, led by a decline in financials and metals stocks, as a worsening Ukraine crisis sent oil prices surging and stoked inflation fears.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index was down 1.53% at 16,245.35 at close, with most of its major sub-indexes seeing declines. The S&P BSE Sensex was down 1.4% at 54,333.81.

Both the indexes fell over 2% earlier in the session, touching their lowest since early-August last year, in their third consecutive session of losses.

Ukraine authorities said on Friday Russian forces seized the largest nuclear power plant in Europe after a building at the complex was set ablaze during intense fighting with Ukrainian defenders. 

Oil rose above $111 a barrel on Friday in a volatile session on fears over supply disruption to Russian oil exports after sanctions by Western sanctions.

India is the world's third-largest importer of crude oil, and rising prices push up its trade and current account deficit while hurting the rupee and fuelling imported inflation.

The Indian rupee breached 76 per dollar for the first time since mid-December, and settled 0.33% weaker at 76.16. 

The Nifty's bank index, financial services index and auto index were among the top losers, falling between 1% and over 3%.

The Nifty metals index and energy index on Friday snapped their four consecutive sessions of gains to end 3.2% and 1.9% lower, respectively. For the week, however, the energy and metals indexes saw gains of between 3.8% and 7%.

IT firm Wipro Ltd and Cigarettes-hotel conglomerate ITC Ltd were among the top percentage gainers on the Nifty 50, between 1% and 3%.

The Nifty IT index was the only gainer among major sub-indexes, rising 0.14%. For the week, the index rose over 2%.

Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu, Uttaresh.V and Krishna Chandra Eluri

Source: Reuters

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