Indian shares trim gains ahead of Powell speech, post weekly loss

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FILE PHOTO: People stand outside the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), after Sensex surpassed the 60,000 level for the first time, in Mumbai

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian shares gave up some gains on Friday and registered their first weekly loss in six, as investors maintained caution ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's speech that is likely to provide cues on future interest rate hikes.

The NSE Nifty 50 index ended 0.21% higher at 17,558.9, while the S&P BSE Sensex closed 0.1% higher at 58,833.87, after rising as much as 0.9% each earlier in the session. They declined over 1% for the week, after five consecutive weeks of gains.

Powell's speech at 1400 GMT at the Federal Reserve's annual conference at Jackson Hole will be parsed for any indication an economic slowdown might alter its rate-hike strategy.

"With markets having been largely in risk-on mode since the third week of June, the chances are low that Powell will deliver a dovish surprise with the risk rather of the opposite outcome," said Christopher Wood, global head of equities at Jefferies.

Wood, in his note published late Thursday, also called India the best structural story in Asia by far.

"The reality is that the Indian market has so far surprised everyone by its resilience in the face of bearish sentiment triggered by the wave of foreign selling, prevailing high valuations and monetary tightening," he wrote.

The Nifty 50 is up around 2.3% so far this month, after gaining 8.7% in July on easing crude prices and hopes of a slower pace of rate hikes.

Automaker Eicher Motors was the biggest percentage loser on the Nifty 50, dropping 3.6% in its worst session since early March, after UBS downgraded the stock to 'neutral' from 'buy', citing a 34% rally this year.

The Nifty Metal index was the best performing sub-index, gaining 1.8%.

New Delhi Television Ltd ended nearly 5% higher for a third consecutive day, as Adani Group contested claims by the news network that regulatory curbs restricted its founders from selling their stake.

(Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)