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Indian shares fall on profit-taking; set for best qtr in nearly 3 yrs
March 31, 2017 / 6:47 AM / 8 months ago

Indian shares fall on profit-taking; set for best qtr in nearly 3 yrs

* NSE index down 0.2 pct, BSE index 0.3 pct lower

* Recent outperformers fall on profit-booking

* Bharti Infratel top percentage loser

By Aby Jose Koilparambil

March 31 (Reuters) - Indian shares fell on Friday as investors booked profits in recent outperformers, but were poised for a third straight gain on month fuelled by a crucial victory for India’s ruling party in a key state election and big foreign inflows into markets.

The NSE index was down 0.2 percent at 9,153.35 as of 0618 GMT, while the benchmark BSE index was 0.3 percent lower at 29,562.59.

The NSE index has however advanced 3.1 percent this month after hitting a record high of 9,218.40 on March 17, spurred by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s win in the key northern state of Uttar Pradesh and net foreign inflows of $4.67 billion into equity markets as of March 30.

For the quarter, the NSE index rose 11.9 percent, its best performance since the April-June quarter of 2014 when Modi was elected to power.

In the 2016/17 fiscal year so far, the NSE has surged 18.5 percent, rebounding from an 8.9 percent fall in the previous financial year.

Analysts say they expect markets to take a breather in the short-term as investors brace for corporate results starting mid-April.

“There could me some more profit-booking happening in the market. Next week could see some breather in terms of FII (foreign institutional investor) inflows as well as caution ahead of earnings season and monsoon data,” said Siddhartha Khemka, head of research at Centrum Wealth.

On Friday, private lender HDFC Bank was trading 1.7 percent lower, sliding for the first time in four sessions and the top percentage loser among financial stocks on the index.

The Nifty Bank index, which ended Thursday at a record closing high, and the Nifty Finance index each fell as much as 0.7 percent.

Bharti Infratel, which has gained 4.6 percent so far in the week after it sold about 22 percent stake, was down 3.5 percent, the top percentage loser on the index.

Education services provider CL Educate slumped on market debut, falling as much as 21 percent from its IPO price of 502 rupees.

Indian Oil Corp Ltd, which was included in the NSE index on Friday along with Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd , was the top percentage gainer, rising as much as 3.70 percent.

Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengal; Editing by Biju Dwarakanathuru

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