Indian shares close down as investors eye inflation data

FILE PHOTO: Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in Mumbai

By Praveen Paramasivam

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indian shares closed lower on Monday, following the previous session's rally, as investors awaited domestic inflation data for clues on the central bank's interest rate trajectory, while the corporate earnings season draws to a close.

The NSE Nifty 50 index closed 0.11% lower at 18,329.15. The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 0.28% to 61,624.15.

Both indexes rose more than 1.75% on Friday as cooling U.S. inflation raised hopes for a less-hawkish Federal Reserve.

"Although there were favourable domestic indicators, the market was under pressure due to weakness in the U.S. and other Asian markets," Vinod Nair, head of research at Geojit Financial Services, said. [MKTS/GLOB]

Focus will now be on India's October inflation number, due at 1200 GMT.

A Reuters poll showed economists expect retail price inflation to have slowed to 6.73% last month, due to weaker food price rises and a strong base year, but remaining stubbornly above the Reserve Bank of India's 6% upper limit.

"If we get some amount of cooling off in inflation figures, it will be another boost to the markets," said Anita Gandhi, director at Arihant Capital Markets, adding "overall sentiment continues to be positive."

Nifty's IT, metal, and realty indexes were among the top gainers, rising 0.87% to 1.7%, but could not make up for falls in the fast-moving consumer goods and public sector banks sectors.

"Because India is expensive compared to the global markets, valuations are something that one needs to closely watch," Gandhi said.

After recording their biggest intraday percentage gain since listing, Life Insurance Corporation of India closed 5.9% higher on a quarterly profit surge. Among the biggest losers were Zee Entertainment Enterprises and Shakti Pumps India, dragged by downbeat earnings reports.

More than 1,000 companies were scheduled to report results on Monday, which will mark the end of the month-long earnings season. These include low-cost carrier SpiceJet, drugmaker Biocon, and tyre manufacturer Apollo Tyres.

Conglomerates Grasim Industries reported a fall in quarterly profit, while Godrej Industries posted an increase.

($1 = 80.4770 Indian rupees)

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