March 20, 2019 / 5:44 AM / 8 months ago

Indian shares pause for cues; energy stocks slip

* NSE index up 0.1 percent, BSE index 0.19 percent higher

* Fuel retailers among biggest losers on NSE

By Chandini Monnappa

March 20 (Reuters) - Indian shares were largely unchanged on Wednesday as investors looked for further cues before taking bets, with gains in IT and financials countering losses in consumer and energy scrips.

Indian equity benchmarks witnessed a rally over the past seven sessions, fuelled by optimism that the current coalition government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi would return to power after the general election starting next month.

“We’ve had a huge rally, it’s been unrelenting upwards and markets are going to take a rest at some point,” said Sunil Sharma, chief investment officer, Sanctum Wealth Management.

“People are gearing up for elections, so some people may take money off the table as we head closer to polls.”

India has about 900 million citizens eligible to vote in the general election that will last over a month. The massive event will be held in seven stages and is scheduled to begin on April 11.

The broader NSE index was up 0.1 percent at 11,543.55 as of 0515 GMT, while the benchmark BSE index gained 0.19 percent to 38,440.79.

Infosys Ltd and Wipro Ltd were among the top percentage gainers on the NSE index, rising 2.3 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

Among financials, Indiabulls Housing Finance rose as much as 4.16 percent, while Housing Development Finance Corporation gained 0.92 percent.

Nifty auto index fell 0.4 percent. Eicher Motors Ltd lost up to 1 percent and Bajaj Auto Ltd slipped 0.86 percent.

“There is some concern about the auto sector due to higher inventories, so there will be selective upside in the market,” said Deven Choksey, founder, KR Choksey Investment Managers.

State-run fuel retailers Hindustan Petroleum Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Indian Oil were among the biggest losers on the NSE index, falling between 2.7 percent to 4.3 percent. (Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)

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