Indian shares end flat, review awaited

MUMBAI: Indian shares closed barely changed on Monday, after a rise in European markets helped erase early losses, but sentiment was cautious ahead of inflation data due Tuesday and as investors prepared themselves for a tighter monetary policy this week.Reliance Industries , which has the highest weighting on the main index, shed 2 percent after two Indian newspapers reported the state auditor said it had inflated development costs on its D6 block in the Krishna-Godavari basin.Separately, the energy major said late on Friday it would buy Bharti Enterprises’ stakes in two insurance joint ventures with France’s AXA.“The market is worried that the company was moving its focus away from its core business,” said Ambareesh Baliga, chief operating officer at Way2wealth Securities, referring to the company’s entry into insurance business.“But this is a part of a much larger plan of being a full-fledged financial services provider.”Reliance has diversified into the telecom, retail, financial services and hospitality sectors in recent years.The 30-share BSE index declined 0.01 percent or 2.51 points to 18,266.03 points. Thirteen of its components closed in the red. The index had fallen as much as 0.8 percent earlier in the day.Foreign funds have bought a net $292 million of local shares in June, after dumping $1.2 billion of stocks in May.“Market is trying to find a direction in light of the negative global cues,” said Sandip Sabharwal, CEO of portfolio management services at brokerage Prabhudas Lilladher.He said May inflation data, advance quarterly taxes that companies will pay by Wednesday and the central bank’s policy review on Thursday will provide more cues in the near term.

Most economists expect a quarter percentage point increase in rates, which would be its tenth hike in 15 months, as the central bank fights stubbornly high inflation.Financials closed mixed ahead of the inflation data, which should help give clues on the central bank’s policy moves.Top lender State Bank of India shed 1 percent, while rivals ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank ended up 0.4 percent each.The wholesale price index is expected to have risen 8.70 percent in May from a year earlier, up slightly from the previous month, thanks to rising food and fuel prices, a Reuters poll showed. The 50-share NSE index was slipped 0.05 percent to end at 5,482.80. – Dailytimes