Indian shares end lower as caution prevails; Adani stocks slide

A man walks out of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai
A man walks out of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building in Mumbai, India, January 3 2020. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

BENGALURU, March 28 (Reuters) - Indian shares settled lower on Tuesday as caution over broader economic challenges and a sharp slide in Adani group stocks soured sentiment, while investors awaited some key economic data due later in the week.

The Nifty 50 index (.NSEI) closed down 0.20% at 16,951.70, while the S&P BSE Sensex (.BSESN) fell 0.07% to 57,613.72. Both benchmarks had risen as much as 0.5% earlier in the session.

Ten of the 13 major sectoral indexes declined, with auto (.NIFTYAUTO) and information technology (IT) stocks (.NIFTYIT) losing nearly 1% each. High weightage financials (.NIFTYFIN) rose 0.27% and capped the losses in benchmarks.

Adani group companies declined between 3% and 7.5% after a report said the conglomerate was seeking to renegotiate terms of outstanding loans worth $4 billion taken to buy ACC (ACC.NS) and Ambuja Cements (ABUJ.NS).

The group's flagship Adani Enterprises (ADEL.NS) and Adani Ports (APSE.NS) were the top losers in the Nifty 50.

Though the waning of financial troubles in key U.S. and European banking entities is providing some confidence to investors, "the overall undertone still remains that of cautious to negative," said Prashanth Tapse, senior vice president of research at Mehta Equities.

Investors also awaited the U.S. GDP and jobs data, due on March 30, which could provide insights into the impact of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy on inflation and growth. India's current account data due later this week was also on the radar.

"Sentiment will likely be negative in the short term ahead of key data," said Harsha Upadhyaya, president and chief investment officer - equity at Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company.

"Till corporate earnings improve, expect markets to be rangebound."

Among domestic stocks, shares of Hero MotoCorp (HROM.NS) fell 2.56% after analysts flagged near-term pressure for its entry-level motorcycles due to weak rural demand.

Kalyan Jewellers (KALN.NS) lost over 9% after a media report said Warburg Pincus-owned Highdell Investment plans to sell a 2.5% stake in the company through a block deal.

($1 = 82.1870 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Bharath Rajeswaran in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil, Nivedita Bhattacharjee and Eileen Soreng

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