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India Shares Post Fourth Day of Losses on Surging Oil Prices

BENGALURU, March 7 (Reuters) - Indian shares closed lower on Monday for a fourth consecutive session and the rupee settled at near record lows, with investors on edge over worries the spike in global oil prices would lead to higher domestic inflation.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index fell 2.35% to 15,863.15 at close and the S&P BSE Sensex dropped 2.74% to 52,842.75. Earlier in the session, both the indexes had fallen over 3%.

The Indian rupee fell to a record low at 76.97 against the dollar earlier in the day, settling 1.05% weaker at 76.96. The benchmark 10-year bond yield rose to 6.891% from the previous close of 6.813%.

Oil prices soared to their highest since 2008 on Monday, after the U.S. and European allies explored a Russian oil import ban, while delays in the potential return of Iranian crude to global markets increased supply fears.

India imports over two-thirds of its oil requirements, and higher prices push up the country's trade and current account deficit while also hurting the rupee and fuelling imported inflation.

"Perception that a lot of foreign investors will have is emerging markets like India carry an additional risk factor in terms of all these macro dynamics playing out and, as a safety measure, there is a move towards the dollar," said Mayuresh Joshi, head of equity research at William O'Neil & Co, India.

Meanwhile, foreign investors have sold close to $1 billion of financials in the last two weeks and close to $2.5 billion year-to-date, Macquarie wrote in a note.

On the Nifty, banks, financial services firms, private sector banks and auto stocks were among the top losers, dropping over 4% each.

The Nifty metals index closed 2.1% higher, with Coal India and aluminium producer Hindalco Industries gaining 4.3% and 6.2%, respectively. Oil and gas explorer ONGC, the top gainer on the Nifty 50, closed 13.1% higher.

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

Source: Reuters

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