Indian shares were flat as caution prevailed ahead of key earnings results, none more important than blue chip Reliance Industries on Friday.
Expectations on that front are not good.
The energy conglomerate controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani is expected to report its second consecutive drop in quarterly profit, as refining margins slip and as gas output slows.
Top-ranked analysts from StarMine are more pessimistic, forecasting fiscal fourth-quarter net profit will come in at 41.9 billion rupees ($810.05 million), or about 5 percent below wider consensus forecasts.
Reliance shares were down 0.3 percent, having dropped nearly 9 percent since the start of March, compared with about a 1.7 percent fall in the broader Nifty index
"Reliance industries earnings is one of the events the investors are waiting for, " said Hiten Gala, a senior manager of advisory at Brokerage Sharekhan, adding the results would likely determine market direction in the near-term.
The country's main 30-share BSE index and the 50-share NSE index were down 0.04 percent each.
Please see an important advisory about the change in Reuters' markets coverage for India by double clicking ($1 = 51.7250 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Manoj Dharra; Editing by Rafael Nam)
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