Indian shares end lower; CPI data in focus

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

By Rama Venkat

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian shares finished a choppy session lower on Wednesday, as traders awaited domestic and U.S. inflation data later this week for cues on central banks' interest rate-hike plans.

The Nifty 50 index was down 0.1% at 17,895.70 at close, while the S&P BSE Sensex declined 0.02% to 60,105.50. Both indexes rose 0.4% earlier in the session.

"We don't see much of a downside from here so any dip will be a good opportunity to buy. The CPI data will be favourable as overall prices seem to be under control as of now," said Samrat Dasgupta, chief executive officer of Esquire Capital Investment Advisors.

"Nifty's 17,800 is good support and don't see it going below 17,500 as of now, given domestic corporate results overall are expected to be quite decent," Dasgupta added.

GRAPHIC: Nifty 50 closes below 100-day SMA support - https://www.reuters.com/graphics/NIFTY50-SUPPORT/SUP-NIFTY501101/gkvlwxxwxpb/chart.png

Analysts cited the weaker-than-expected earnings from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and a tepid growth outlook as reasons for the session's volatility.

IT stocks rebounded 0.33%, having fallen in the previous session after TCS' profit miss and a warning on challenges with deal decisions in Europe.

Among individual stocks, telecom carrier Bharti Airtel was the top percentage loser on the Nifty 50, dropping 3.4% after JPMorgan downgraded the company on tariff hike delays and the need for higher 5G investment.

The market's focus is now on domestic and U.S. inflation data. The U.S. consumer price index report, due on Thursday, is expected to show some moderation in the year-on-year price increase in December.

A Reuters poll of economists showed India's retail inflation held steady last month, staying within the Reserve Bank of India's comfort zone for a second month. The data is also due on Thursday.

A World Bank report on Wednesday said India's economic growth could slow to 6.6% in the next fiscal year from an expected 6.9% in the current year, citing a global slowdown and a rising uncertainty weighing over export and investment growth.

(Reporting by Rama Venkat and additional reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil, Eileen Soreng and Janane Venkatraman)