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India shares little changed as software exporters decline, banks advance

HCL Technologies drags software exporters lower after earnings

MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Indian shares ended little changed on Wednesday as a pullback in software exporters after HCL Technologies' earnings offset gains in private lenders.

The BSE Sensex ended 0.05% higher at 35,176.42 while the Nifty 50 Index ended 0.2% lower at 10,718.05. HCL dropped 4.8%, leading information technology companies lower. The company reported a 9.9% decline in net profit for the March quarter, missing estimates of analysts polled by Reuters. Tata Consultancy Services, hovering near record highs, slipped 1%. Wipro and Tech Mahindra declined by 1.2% or more. Infosys lost 0.1%.

Kotak Mahindra Bank was the day's top performer on the Sensex, climbing 3.9% to a record 1,257.25 rupees. Morgan Stanley raised the target price on the stock to 1,435 rupees, saying it expects continued robust earnings growth. Nomura upgraded the stock to 'buy' and increased the target price to 1,400 rupees.

Among other private lenders, HDFC Bank added 1.3% and Axis Bank rose 1%.

Cues from regional markets were tepid. The Nikkei Asia300 Index of companies outside Japan declined 0.2% before the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy review later Wednesday. With no change in interest rates widely expected, the attention will be on the central bank's outlook for inflation and reaction of the U.S. fixed income market.

Two-wheeler maker Bajaj Auto advanced 0.3% following a 26% rise in sales volume in April. Carmakers Maruti Suzuki India and Tata Motors declined 0.8% and 1.2%, respectively. Earlier in the day, both the stocks rose by as much as 1.9% and 3.5% after their April sales exceeded estimates compiled by BloombergQuint.

Sageraj Bariya, vice president of institutional sales at Mumbai-bases East India Securities, said that "strong sales data for the month of April" put auto stocks in the limelight and that Indian markets could witness "a sideways consolidation" after having rallied for the three sessions though Monday.

Vedanta dropped 5% and aluminium producer Hindalco Industries declined 3.1% as the dollar index's rise to four-month highs before the Fed policy outcome clouded the outlook for commodities.

Dabur India edged higher by 0.5% after the consumer staples company reported a 19% rise in March quarter net profit. Hero MotoCorp dropped 1.9% despite a near 35% increase in net profit for the same period.

Fortis Healthcare advanced 4.3% to 158.70 rupees after Malaysia's IHH Healthcare raised its offer price for the healthcare company to 175 rupees. Further, Hero Enterprise Investment Office and Burman Family Office revised its investment proposal, offering to invest 18 billion rupees directly into the company.

--Nimesh Vora

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