Indian shares ease off 9-mth highs ahead of U.S. inflation data

FILE PHOTO: A security guard walks past the logo of the National Stock Exchange inside its building in Mumbai

By Rama Venkat

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian shares were off over nine-month highs scaled earlier in the session as losses in metal and automobile stocks weighed, while investors awaited U.S. inflation data this week for cues on the Federal Reserve's future rate hikes.

The NSE Nifty 50 index was down 0.25% at 18,157 at the close, and the S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.25% to 61,033.55, with the indexes snapping two straight sessions of gains.

"Domestic markets at these levels have already factored in results," said Siddhartha Khemka, head of retail research at Motilal Oswal Financial Services.

"While the positive momentum is still there, it will not move up in a hurry as the Fed is not done with its rate hike cycle yet. Data points that could influence it are still coming in."

Since the start of the earnings season last month, the benchmark indexes have added more than 5% each so far, after strong reports from top IT, bank, and consumer goods companies.

Investor focus is now on a key U.S. inflation reading due on Thursday, which is expected to show easing consumer prices and provide hints to the Fed's rate outlook.

In domestic trading, Nifty public sector bank index's 3.9% rise and bank index's record high close fell short as metal and automobile indexes declined 0.93% and 0.76%, respectively.

Aluminium products maker Hindalco Industries, down 4.7%, was the top loser on the Nifty 50 index. Adani Ports was the top gainer, advancing 4.4%, followed by Coal India Ltd which closed 2.5% higher after the miner's quarterly profit more than doubled.

Tata Motors Ltd gave up gains to settle 0.4% lower ahead of its quarterly results. The Jaguar Land Rover parent posted a smaller second-quarter loss on improved sales volumes.

Globally, stocks stalled below recent seven-week highs on Wednesday, as investors also awaited the U.S. midterm election results, which could signify a power shift in Washington. [MKTS/GLOB]

($1 = 81.3700 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Janane Venkatraman)