September 5, 2018 / 6:45 AM / in 2 months

Indian shares track broader Asia lower; rupee hits fresh low

* NSE index down 0.37 pct, BSE index 0.31 pct lower

* RBI likely intervened to support rupee - traders

* Sensex heads for 6th session of losses

By Chris Thomas

Sept 5 (Reuters) - Indian shares edged down in line with broader Asia on Wednesday, with banks and consumer goods stocks leading the losses, while the rupee fell to a fresh low as simmering trade tensions continued to hurt emerging market currencies.

Stock markets in Asia tracked global peers lower as heightened worries over international trade conflicts curbed investor appetite for riskier assets. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down over 1 percent as of 0529 GMT.

The Indian rupee fell to a new low of 71.8 against the dollar on Wednesday.

India’s central bank likely intervened mildly in the forex markets on Wednesday, two traders told Reuters, to ease the pressure on the rupee.

“Clearly, markets at this point are very toppish. Not many people have valuation comfort at these levels. So, taking some money off the table is completely part of the course,” said Tirthankar Patnaik, India Strategist at Mizuho Bank.

The NSE index had been on a record-setting run over the last two months, marking fresh highs 11 times in August alone. Meanwhile, the BSE index is Asia’s top performing index this year, thanks to strong June-quarter earnings.

The broader NSE index was 0.38 percent lower at 11,477.15 as of 0608 GMT, on track for a third consecutive session of losses.

The benchmark BSE index, down 0.32 percent at 38,035.75, was headed for its sixth straight session of losses.

Hindustan Unilever Ltd, down as much as 2.2 percent at a near 10-week low, was the biggest drag on the Nifty 50.

Coal India Ltd, down 2.7 percent at a near five-week low, was the top loser on the index.

Heavyweight lenders HDFC Bank Ltd, Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd and ICICI Bank Ltd fell between 0.7 and 1.3 percent.

Meanwhile, gold financing company Muthoot Finance jumped 10 percent in its biggest intraday percentage gain since March 2017 after posting a 43 percent growth in June-quarter profit.

Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Vyas Mohan

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