Indian shares end flat, telecom sector gives up gains

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Indian shares closed flat on Wednesday as the embattled telecom sector gave up gains after the government did not consider relief measures, while firmer financials offset weakness in IT stocks.

A broker reacts while trading at his computer terminal at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai, India, August 24, 2015. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index closed down 0.05% at 17,353.50 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex settled 0.05% lower at 58,250.26.

The indexes had declined as much as 0.6% as the cabinet’s decision disappointed some investors that were expecting support measures for the cash-strapped sector.

Reversing from early gains, Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone Idea Ltd slipped 0.4% and 2.4%, respectively. Reliance Industries, the owner of telecom operator Reliance Jio Infocomm, fell 0.4% to snap five sessions of gains.

The market was being weighed down by profit-taking, but banks limited losses, said Neeraj Dewan, director at Quantum Securities.

Nifty’s bank index and finance index settled up 0.82% and 0.57%, respectively.

The Nifty IT index settled down 0.78%, with Wipro leading losses to close down 1.8%.

Agro chemicals maker BASF India dropped 2.1%. India’s antitrust watchdog on Wednesday raided local offices of several vegetable seed companies, including that of BASF India.

Textile stocks Filatex, Bannari Amman Spinning Mills and Alok Industries advanced between 5% and 12.1% after the government said it would provide incentives for the sector.

Ratings agency Standard and Poor’s said on Wednesday that India’s economic growth would remain strong in the coming quarters, while inflation in Asia’s third-largest economy was likely to remain at elevated levels.

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