Indian shares edge higher as autos, bank stocks gain

FILE PHOTO: A broker reacts while trading at his computer terminal at a stock brokerage firm in Mumbai

By Praveen Paramasivam

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares edged up on Tuesday, helped by gains in auto and bank stocks, as data showed the country's annual retail inflation for October eased and was roughly in line with estimates.

The NSE Nifty 50 index closed 0.41% higher at 18,403.40, while the S&P BSE Sensex gained 0.40% to 61,872.99 - a new record close.

Slower rise in food prices helped annual retail inflation ease to 6.77% in October, from 7.41% in September, data showed. However, that was higher than the 6.73% forecast by economists in a Reuters poll and the central bank's 2%-6% target band.

The inflation number strengthened bets of smaller rate hikes by the Reserve Bank of India at its meeting next month.

Nifty's consumer pared most of its losses from earlier in the session to close 0.02% lower, while the IT index reversed course to close 0.05% higher.

Among the top gainers were banks, finance and auto indexes, which gained 0.59% to 0.7%.

A.K. Prabhakar, head of research at IDBI Capital, said he is "gung-ho" about banking stocks and expects them to outperform in the coming weeks following solid quarterly numbers.

Over 1,000 companies reported results on Monday, with many reports coming in after markets' close, marking the end of a largely upbeat month-long earnings season.

"(For Indian companies,) sales growth has been very good. The problem has been commodity-led inflationary pressure and that will go away in the next 1-2 quarters," Prabhakar said.

ONGC, the country's largest oil explorer, was the top gainer on Nifty 50, rising 2.2%, after beating quarterly standalone profit estimates, while tyremaker Apollo Tyres climbed over 4% on a rise in earnings.

NDTV also climbed 5% as Reuters reported India's market regulator approved Adani Group's purchase of an additional 26% stake in the news broadcaster.

State-run Coal India, the world's largest coal miner, fell over 6%.

Globally, investors will get another look at U.S. inflation when the producer price index data is released at 1330 GMT. [MKTS/GLOB]

($1 = 80.9650 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Eileen Soreng and Dhanya Ann Thoppil)