Indian shares end flat as private banks offset drop in state-owned firms

FILE PHOTO: The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) logo is seen under a bull statue at the entrance of their building in Mumbai

By Bharath Rajeswaran

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian shares ended little changed in a volatile session on Wednesday as a rise in high-weightage private banks offset a drop in state-owned firms and energy stocks after a recent rally.

The NSE Nifty 50 shed 0.18% to 23,516, while the S&P BSE Sensex added 0.05% to 77,337.59.

Both the indexes rose about 0.3% each to hit all-time highs at the open before surrendering gains.

There will be bouts of profit booking at record high levels and elevated valuations, analysts said.

From here on, it's going to be about identifying specific stock opportunities with steady growth outlook and valuation comfort, said Harsha Upadhyaya, chief investment officer and president at Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company.

Private banks climbed 2.01%, while the bank index gained 1.9%, led by a 3.11% rise in HDFC Bank, the heaviest weighted Nifty 50 stock.

Including Wednesday's gains, private banks and banks have added 2.73% and 6.43% so far in 2024, underperforming the Nifty 50's 8.21% rise.

Axis Bank added 2.92% after raising its stake in Max Life Insurance, a unit of Max Financial Services, for 3.36 billion rupees ($40.3 million).

IndusInd Bank gained 1.35% after Bernstein initiated coverage on the stock with "outperform", citing likely benefits from its loan mix.

"Private banks have not participated in the recent rally, the space looks very attractive, but it's a stock-specific market and not sector-specific," Kotak's Upadhyaya added.

Public sector enterprises, which had rallied 15.2% since India's national election results on June 4, dropped 2.16% on the day.

Energy stocks declined 1.71% and realty shed 2.83%. Both indexes had gained about 10% and 18%, respectively, since June 4.

Eight of the 13 major sectors logged losses, while the broader small- and mid-caps fell about 0.5% and 1%, respectively.

($1 = 83.4500 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema and Sohini Goswami)