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The Indian equity benchmarks edged lower on Friday as investors booked profits after a three-day rally which saw Sensex and Nifty surge over 3.5 per cent amid weak global cues. The Sensex fell as much as 261 point and Nifty 50 index fell below its important psychological level of 17,500. Asian shares slipped and the dollar held firm on Friday as traders edged away from riskier assets amid renewed concerns about COVID-19 and ahead of key U.S. inflation data that could set direction on Federal Reserve rates.MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.4 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei shed 0.5 per cent.Overnight the S&P 500 lost 0.72 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.71 per cent. S&P 500 futures rose 0.14 per cent in Asian hours.Shares and risk-friendly currencies had performed well earlier in the week, with MSCI’s regional benchmark posting its best day in two months on Tuesday, helped by indications the Omicron strain of the new coronavirus might not be as economically disruptive as first feared.As of 9:40 am, the Sensex was down 156 points at 58,651 and Nifty 50 index fell 42 points to 17,474.



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