* Possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant identified
* Nifty 50 set for its worst week since late-January
* India issues advisory to all states for screening
BENGALURU, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Indian shares tumbled as much
as 2.5% on Friday, with the blue-chip Nifty 50 set for its worst
week since late-January, as investors dumped risky assets after
a new and possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant was
identified in South Africa.
The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index trimmed some losses
to trade 2.02% lower at 17,183.60 by 0602 GMT, while the
benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was down 2.02% at 57,614.16.
Both the indexes hit their lowest levels since Sept. 2 on
Friday, while on a weekly basis, they are down more than 3%
Investors were spooked by concerns about fresh outbreaks and
the impact on the global economy after scientists said the new
variant may be able to evade immune responses.
Some nations moved swiftly to impose travel curbs from the
nation, while India issued an advisory to all states to
rigorously test and screen international travellers from South
Africa and other "at risk" countries.
The developments knocked over broader markets in Asia, which
saw their sharpest drop in three months.
"There is a fear of this new variant spreading to other
countries which might again derail the global economy," said
Hemang Jani, equity strategist at Motilal Oswal Financial
Autos, banks, metals, energy and realty stocks were the
worst hit, with the sub-indexes down between 3% and 5%.
The Nifty Pharma Index gained 2.50%. Cipla
rose as much as 6.4% to a more than 7-month high,
while Pfizer climbed to 5.7%.
Looking ahead, India's economic growth data is in focus,
with a Reuters poll projecting that the country's economic
recovery had strengthened in the previous quarter after
pandemic-related mobility restrictions had eased.
(Reporting by Vishwadha Chander and Chris Thomas in Bengaluru;
editing by Uttaresh.V)