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Asia300

India shares end little changed on profit booking after Nifty rises to record

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Indian shares ended little changed on Tuesday, retreating from record highs, as investors took profits in stocks such as Reliance Industries after the Nifty index hit the 10,000 mark for the first-time ever.

The benchmark BSE Sensex slid 0.05%, or 17.60 points, to 32,228.27, while the broader NSE shed 0.02%, or 1.85 points, to 9,964.55. The indices had gained as much as 0.4% and 0.5% earlier, with the Nifty surpassing the 10,000 level in opening trade itself.

Indian stocks have been scaling new highs in recent months, supported by global liquidity, increased participation by retail investors in domestic mutual funds and an overall rally in world equities, analysts said. Better-than-expected earnings from frontline index heavyweights such as Reliance Industries, Hindustan Unilever and Infosys have further cheered investors.

"For the first time this year, the market looks overbought technically and hence could shed some weight in the near term," said Gautam Shah, chief technical analyst at JM Financial Services. "We see significant resistance around the 10,000-10,100 mark on the Nifty and don't think the market is ready to get past this hurdle in the current attempt."

On Tuesday, 18 of the 30 Sensex constituents ended lower, while overall declining issues beat advancing ones 1,492 to 1,200, while 150 remained unchanged.

Reliance Industries, India's biggest private company by revenue, declined 0.8% to 1,603.35 rupees, ending a 5.7%, two-day rally. Cigarette maker ITC fell 0.6% to 291.40 rupees to reverse some of the 1.6% gain in the previous session.

HDFC Bank, India's biggest lender by market value, added 0.3% to 1,739.35 rupees, taking two-day gains to 2.1%. Several brokerages increased their price targets on the stock after the lender reported a 20% on-year increase in first-quarter net profit Monday. Jefferies upgraded HDFC Bank to `Buy' from `Hold' and raised the target price to 2,000 rupees from 1,565 rupees.

Smaller rival Axis Bank ended up 1.9% at 544.65 rupees ahead of its April-June earnings due later Tuesday.

Bharti Airtel gained 1.8% to 427.60 rupees. CNBC-TV18 reported, citing people it didn't identify, that the Bharti group is in exploratory talks with Japan's SoftBank for a possible minority stake sale Bharti Airtel. The company is also scheduled to detail its quarterly earnings later Tuesday.

Rival mobile phone operator Idea Cellular jumped 6.5% to 97.80 rupees. The Competition Commission of India approved a merger between Idea Cellular and Vodafone, and the transaction is expected to close during calendar year 2018.

Among other key movers, Vedanta gained 3.7% to 274.40 rupees after it reported a 67% on-year jump in first-quarter net profit. Bharti Infratel rose 1.7% to 416.55 rupees despite reporting a 12% decline in April-June net profit.

Zee Entertainment Enterprises fell 2.1% to 538.65 rupees. After market hours on Monday, the company posted a nearly 16% increase in first-quarter net profit. Indiabulls Housing Finance finished 3.8% higher at 1,198.75 after its April-June net profit jumped 25% on-year.

Most regional markets closed mixed on Tuesday. The Nikkei Asia300 Index, which tracks over 300 companies in the region, edged 0.1% lower as investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy review. While the central bank is widely expected to stand pat on interest rates after two increases this year, markets will watch for any indications about when the authority will begin reducing its bond portfolio.

--Dhanya Ann Thoppil

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