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Equities

India shares little changed as Karnataka exit polls remain inconclusive

Investors await election results due Tuesday

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Indian shares ended little changed on Monday after exit polls for Karnataka state elections didn't forecast a clear winner.

The BSE Sensex rose less than 0.1% to close at 35,556.71, while the Nifty 50 Index added 0.10 points to settle at 10,806.60. ICICI Bank dropped 0.4%, pulling back after its 10% rally last week. ITC, which reports earnings on Wednesday, rose 0.2%. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories rose by 0.5% or more, buoyed by Friday's rally in U.S healthcare companies after President Donald Trump's speech on lowering drug prices, which analysts said was not as aggressive as was feared.

Exit polls were divided over who would emerge victorious in Karnataka, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party was pitted against its chief rival the Indian National Congress. The elections are being closely followed to assess Modi's popularity ahead of national elections due next year. The Results of the state polls would be declared on Tuesday during market hours.

The elections are crucial for Congress as well as the BJP "in the run up to the federal elections in May next year," CLSA said in a note. "If the BJP ends up forming the government, market sentiment would improve, but that could be the local peak."

U.S. and regional leads were positive. The S&P 500 Index edged higher on Friday, clocking its best weekly performance since early-March. In Asian indexes, Hong Kong's benchmark index closed 1.4% higher and Japan's gauge advanced 0.5%.

Among other movers in Mumbai trading, Indian Oil closed 0.4% lower. It had climbed by as much as 2.4% earlier after it increased petrol and diesel prices over the weekend.

South Indian Bank climbed 3.5% after reporting a 51% rise in March quarter net profit. Allahabad Bank dropped 3.2% after it reported a loss in the period. UCO Bank slipped 2.1% after its January-March loss widened from the same period last year.

Dena Bank dropped 6% after the nation's central bank barred the lender from taking on additional credit exposure following a year-on-year doubling of net losses for the March quarter.

Sun TV Network jumped 11.5% after reporting a 23% increase in net profit for the fiscal's last quarter.

--Nimesh Vora

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