Indian shares end higher, investors await U.S. stimulus details

Indian markets have hit new record highs in the past few days

  
The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building is pictured next to a police van in Mumbai, India, August 24, 2015.Image used for illustrative purpose

The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building is pictured next to a police van in Mumbai, India, August 24, 2015.Image used for illustrative purpose

REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

BENGALURU - Indian shares closed slightly higher on Thursday after mostly trading sideways, helped by gains in energy stocks, while investors waited for details of a major U.S. stimulus package due later in the day.

The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index ended 0.2% higher at 14,595.60 and the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex also rose 0.2% to 49,584.16.

The Nifty energy index was the top index gainer, rising 1.4%.

"We are seeing more of a balancing act in the markets right now. Some bank stocks are catching up and IT stocks, which had a good run, are seeing some profit taking," said Ajit Mishra, vice president, research at Religare Broking.

"We may see a bit of pause (in the rally)... Earnings is the next biggest trigger for the markets."

Infosys Ltd shares, which rose over 6% this week in the run-up to the company's results on Wednesday, fell 1.2%.

Shares of Steel Authority of India fell 10% after India's largest state-owned steel maker said the Indian government has proposed to sell 10% stake in the company at a discount. 

Shares of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd jumped nearly 9.5%, a day after the government said it would buy 83 fighter aircraft from the company. 

Also in focus for investors was a hefty COVID-19 relief package, costing "trillions of dollars" as promised by U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, due to be unveiled later in the day. 

Indian markets have hit new record highs in the past few days, helped by continued foreign fund inflows and progress in COVID-19 vaccine developments. Foreign investors pumped more than $20 billion into Indian equities last year, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

(Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri) ((Sethuraman.NR@thomsonreuters.com; (+91 8061822737); Reuters Messaging: nallur.sethuraman.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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