Sensex, Nifty inch lower as losses in IT services stocks weigh
Photo Credit: Reuters

Indian shares ended slightly lower on Thursday, as gains in telecom operator Bharti Airtel and lender Axis Bank were offset by losses in IT services stocks, a day before IT major Tata Consultancy Services kicks off third-quarter earnings season.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index fell 0.06% to 14,137.35, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex shed 0.17% to close at 48,093.32.

Both indexes hit record highs in the first four trading sessions of the new year, helped by continued foreign fund inflows and progress on COVID-19 vaccines. Foreign investors pumped more than $20 billion into Indian equities last year, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

"Markets are right now very much overbought and there is some profit-booking today," said Rahul Sharma, market strategist and head of research at Equity99 markets.

"Nifty at this point of time has strong support near the 14,100 level," he added.

Bharti Airtel closed 3.8% higher and was the biggest boost to the Nifty. The government's telecommunications department invited bids on Wednesday for auction of airwaves across seven bands ranging from 700 MHz to 2,500 MHz.

The Nifty Bank Index rose 0.5%, with Axis Bank among the top boosts to the Nifty 50. Lenders Yes Bank, HDFC Bank and Bandhan Bank this week reported higher loans and advances as of Dec. 31, 2020.

The Nifty IT index fell 0.66%, with Tata Consultancy Services shedding 0.6% ahead of its third-quarter earnings report scheduled on Friday.

Sobha Ltd gained 7.7% after the real estate company said its third-quarter total sales value jumped 22.3% to 8.88 billion rupees.

The MSCI world equity index rose 0.3%, as investors looked past violence in Washington and bet on a large U.S. fiscal stimulus package after Democrat victories in Senate runoffs in Georgia.

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